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Full text of "Mary Queen of Scots and the Babington plot. Edited from the original documents in the Public Record Office, the Yelverton MSS., and elsewhere"

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Edited, from the original documents in the 

Public Record Office, the Yelverton MSS., 

and elsewhere, by 



Printed at the University Press by T. and A. CONSTABLE LTD. 

for the Scottish History Society 






1584 ...... xiii 

1. Loyalty to Queen Mary, . . . xiii 

2. Enterprises, Leagues, and Excommunication 

Rumours, ..... xv 

3. The Ban against the Prince of Orange, 

25 August 1580, . . xix 

4. Consequences of the ban, xx 

5. Consequences of the murder, 1584, . . xxiii 

II. SPIES AND DUPES, 1584-1585, . . . xxx 

1. Walsingham's political morality, . . xxx 

2. Thomas Morgan and Charles Paget, . xxxiii 

3. Walsingham's spies, . . . xxxv 

4. Dupes, ... . xliii 


JANUARY 1586, .... xlix 

1. Gilbert Gifford's first steps, . . . xlix 

2. Thomas Phelippes, .... liii 

3. The death-trap, ... Ivi 


IV. JOHN BALLARD, 1584-1586, . . . Ixv 

1. The Previous History of Ballard and Tyrrell, Ixvi 

2. What is the value of Tyrrell's evidence ? . Ixxii 

3. A pilgrimage to Rome, March 1584- 

January 1585, .... Ixxiii 



4. Ballard's character, . Ixxviii 

5. Ballard's first steps in politics, 1585, . Ixxxi 
6 Bernard Mawde, .... Ixxxi v 

V. PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT, APRIL 1586, . . Ixxxvii 

1. A Congress at Paris, . . . . Ixxxvii 

2. Walsingham's agents, xc 

3. Ballard's plotters, .... xciii 

4. Gilbert's plottings, .... c 

5. The plotters disperse, cii 


1. Anthony Babington of Dethwick, . . civ 

2 Babington and Ballard, . . . cvii 

3. Consultations, cix 

4. John Savage, . . . ex 

5. Gilbert Gifford and the conspirators, 7 June, cxi 

6. Counts in the indictment on the treasons 

committed on 7 June, . . . cxii 

7. Gilbert and Ballard leave London, . . cxvii 

8. Babini> ton's activities, . . . cxx 


1. Why she wrote, . . . . cxxix 

2. The letter in the post, . . . cxxxi 

3. Elizabeth's orders and Gilbert's solicita- 

tions, .... cxxxiii 

4. Mary's letter received and answered (? 4 to 

6 July), ..... cxxxvi 

5. Babington's answer on its way. . . cxxxviii 

6. Reading the letter, 10 July, . . C xl 

7. Mary decides, 11 July, . . . cxlii 

8. Writing her answer, 11 July, . . cxlvi 


1. Ballard and Gifford. .... c l 

2. Gilbert flies, 20 July, . . clvii 



3. Poley and Babington, . . . clx 

4. Babington's last letter to Mary, 19 July- 

3 August, ..... clxv 

5. A little comedy, .... clxvii 

6. The end of the plot, 3 August- 15 August, . clxviii 

7. The conspirators disperse, . . . clxx 

8. Gilbert and Mendoza (? 1-11 August), clxxiii 


1587, ...... clxxviii 

1. Walsingham's task, .... clxxviii 

2. The secretaries confess, . . . clxxxiii 

3. Queen Mary's trial, . . . cxciii 
4>. Mary's protests of innocence, . cxcv 
5. The execution, .... cxcviii 

X. EXEUNT OMNES, . ... cc-ccxii 


Secret Correspondence of Thomas Barnes, Gilbert Curll, Queen 

Mary, and Anthony Babington 
Confession of Thomas Barnes. 17 March 1588, . 3 

1. Thomas Barnes to Gilbert Curll. London, 28 April 

1586, ...... 5 

2. Gilbert Curll to Thomas Barnes. Chartley, 20 May 

1586, ... 8 

3. Thomas Barnes to Queen Mary. 10 June, ? N.S., 

1586, ...... 8 

4. Barnaby to Curll. ' Lichfield,' really London, 6/1 6 

June 1586, ...... 10 

5. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, 19/29 June 1586, 11 
DA. Queen Mary to Barnaby. Chartley, 19/29 June 1586, 13 

6. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, 25 June/5 July 

1586, ...... 14 

7. Queen Mary to Anthony Babington. Chartley, 25 

June/5 July 1586, ..... 15 



8. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, 2/12 July 1586, . 16 

9. Barnaby to Gilbert Curll. ? Chartley, 10/20 July 

1586, I? 

10. Anthony Babington to Queen Mary. ? London, ? 6/1 6 

July 1586, ...... 18 

11. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, 12/22 July 1586, 23 

12. Claude Nau to Anthony Babington. Chartley, 13/23 

July 1586, . . .24 

13. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, 17/27 July 1586, 25 

14. Queen Mary to Anthony Babington. Chartley, 17/27 

July 1586, 26 

Introduction ; 1. The authentic text, p. 26 ; 2. The 
drafts, p. 27 ; 3. The Textus Receptus, p. 29 ; 4. Sus- 
picions, p. 31 ; 5. Reasons for acceptance, p. 32 ; 6. 
While praising the enterprise in general, Mary refuses con- 
sent to the murder clauses, p. 33 ; 7. An obscure passage, 
p. 34 ; 8. Contemporaneous copies, p. 35 ; 9. Linguistic 
peculiarities, p. 37 ; The text, p, 38. 

15. Anthony Babington to Queen Mary. London, 3/13 

August 1586, ..... 46 

16. Gilbert Curll to Barnaby. Chartley, Friday, 29 July/8 

August 1586, . ... 47 


Confessions and Examinations of Anthony Babington 

17. Babington's First Confession. Ely House, 18/20 August 

1586, ...... 49 

1. First acquaintance with Mary's party, p. 49; 2. 
Ballard's arrival, p. 52 ; 3. Discussions, p. 54 ; 4. Bab- 
ington leader, p. 56 ; 5. Surprise of the Queen's person, 
p. 57 ; 6. Other conspirators, p. 58 ; 7. Poley, p. 58 ; 
8. Lingering, p. 59 ; 9. Gilbert revives the plot, p. 60 ; 
10. Derails, p. 62 ; 11. The correspondence, p. 63 ; 12. 
Final plans, p. 66. 

18. Second Examination of Anthony Babington. Ely 

House, 20 August 1586, . . . .67 



19. Third Examination of Anthony Babington. No date, . 76 

20. Fourth Examination of Anthony Babington. 20 and 

21 August 1586, ..... 77 

21. Fifth Examination of Anthony Babington. No date, . 79 

22. Sixth Examination of Anthony Babington. No date, . 88 

23. Seventh Examination of Anthony Babington. No date, 89 

24. Eighth Examination of Anthony Babington, 2 Sep- 

tember 1586, ..... 90 

25. Ninth Examination of Anthony Babington. 8 Sep- 

tember 1586 96 


Letters of Gilbert Gifford 

26. Gilbert Gifford to Gilbert Curll. London, 24 April 

1586, . ... 99 

27. Headings by Phelippes for letter from ? Gifford to 

Morgan. London, 24 May ? 1586, . . .101 

28. Gilbert Gifford to Thomas Phelippes. ? Near Chartley, 

7 July 1586, . . . . .103 

29. Gilbert Gifford to Sir Francis Walsingham. London, 

11 July 1586, . . . . .105 

30. Same to Same. London, 12 July 1586, . . 109 

3 1 . Notes from three letters by Gilbert Gifford to Walsing- 

ham. London, ? 14, ? 15, ? 16 July 1586, . . Ill 

32 Same to Same. London, ? 16 July 1586, . . 114 

33. Same to Same. London, ? 19 July 1586, . .116 

34. Same to Same. London, 19 or 20 July 1586, . . 117 



1. The new understanding, p. 118 ; 2. Ordination, 
p. 122 ; 3. Spy life in Paris, p. 123 ; 4. In Prison, 
p. 126. 



Various Writers 



35. Sir Francis Walsingham to Thomas Phelippes. ? Rich- 

mond,, 2 August 1586, . . . .131 

36. Same to Same. ? Richmond, 3 August 1586, . .132 

37. Same to Same. Richmond, 3 August 1586, . .134 

38. Same to Same. Same day, . . .135 


39. Examination of John Ballard. 16 and 18 August 1586, 137 

40. Attestations of Babington, Nau, and Curll to Queen 

Mary's Letter III. [l], 5, and 6 September 1586, . 139 

41. Headings for the Bloody Letter, . . .140 
42 Confession of Jacques Nau. 6 September 1586, . 141 

43. Examination of Gilbert Curll. 23 September 1586, . 143 

44. Examination of Jacques Nau. 21 September 1586, . 144 

45. Examination of Gilbert Curll. 21 September 1586, . 146 

46. Nau's Regrets and Curll's Dissuasions. 25 October 

1586, . . . 148 


47. Queen Elizabeth's Secretary to Lord Burghley. 15 

October 1586, . . . .149 

48. Lord Burghley to Sir Francis Walsingham. Burghley, 

16 October 1586, ... .150 


49. De Missione Scotic'a Puncta quaedam. Chambery, l6l 1, 151 
English Translation, . . . . .162 




GEORGE GIFFORD'S PLOT, 1583-1586', . . 1 69-175 

Abstracts or extracts from the letters of the Nuncio 
Castelli, pp. 169, 170 ; John Baptist Taxis, pp. 169, 170 ; 
B. de Mendoza, p 170 ; The Nuncio Ragazzoni, p. 171 ; 
Father Hey wood, S.J., p. 171 ; Confession of John Savage, 
p. 172 ; Examinations of Conspirators, p. 173 ; Articles 
by Young, p. 173 ; Gilbert Gifford, p. 174 ; Father 
Persons, S.J., p. 175. 

INDEX, . 176 

REFERENCES. This book was entirely compiled from the original 
documents at the Record Office and elsewhere (below, p. ccxii), 
and my references were made to them. Meantime, however, the 
great series of Scottish and Foreign Calendars were in progress and 
eventually covered the whole period under review. Then seeing 
how very useful these Calendars are, especially the Calendar of 
Scottish Papers, vol. viii., edited by Mr. W. Boyd, I freely and 
throughout added references to it, and even where a volume 
number is not repeated, this vol. viii. will always be understood. 

Nevertheless, it would not have been scholarly to have removed 
the references to the manuscripts, even though for the purposes 
of the notes, the calendars may contain all the details required. 
Moreover, these references to MSS. may also be used as a 
secondary and practicable (though less expeditious) way of 
arriving at the calendared document. 



1 . Loyalty to Queen Mary. 

THE story is told that Queen Victoria, calling once on 
the late Sir John Millais, took his little boy, whose face 
is familiar to us in more than one of the great painter's 
pictures, and set him on her knee. But the child pouted, 
and would not be friendly, saying in explanation, ' You 
are wicked Queen Elizabeth, who cut off good Queen 
Mary's head.' Her Majesty laughingly kissed the child 
saying, 'No, dear, I am Queen of England, because I 
descend from good Queen Mary ; and I have not a drop 
of wicked Queen Elizabeth's blood in my body.' 

Queen Victoria's words illustrate vividly the principle, 
for the victory of which the Babington Plot was formed. 
Every English Sovereign who has claimed loyalty and 
allegiance since that time, has done so in virtue of his or 
her descent from Queen Mary. But at that time her 
hereditary claims, matters of vast import to the nation, 
were being tyrannically oppressed. In the year 1581 was 
passed the so-called 4 Statute of Silence ' (23 Eliz. c. 2), 
which made it punishable by death to discuss the rights 
of any heir. England was to expect Elizabeth's successor 
from a vote of her Privy Council. 1 

1 Statutes of the Realm, 23 Elizabeth, cap. 2 v. Though the bill was 
aimed nominally at the superstitious ' casting of nativities and setting of 
images/ it also enacts that ' any one who shall set forth by express wordes, 
deeds or writings, who shall raigne as King or Queen of this Realme after 
her Highnesse Decease . . . every such offence shal be felonie . . . and 


Nor was this repressive policy confined to discussions 
of the succession. Who was ignorant of the many sus- 
picions that attached to Elizabeth ? Had she not been 
proclaimed a bastard by Cranmer, and by several acts of 
Parliament ? Though no Pope had done this, still one 
of them had pronounced against her a never-to-be-for- 
gotten sentence. No c Statute of Silence ' could make such 
things as though they were not. Every attempt to enforce 
silence proved that the tyranny of Elizabeth's govern- 
ment must needs cause, even among conservative minds, 
a vehement temptation to grasp at violent remedies. 1 

On the other hand, the hostility of Elizabeth's ministers 
will be found throughout this volume to dominate the 
situation. Unsatisfied with all they had done to weaken, 
humiliate and hold prisoner the second person in the 
realm, they were keen to deny her queenship altogether, 
and they were watching for the occasion to kill her. 
More than once had they offered to hand her over to her 
Scottish enemies for slaughter, and this c great object ' 
was only foiled by Elizabeth's refusal to pay the blood- 
money which the Scots required for putting away their 
Queen. Walsingham, with tell-tale frankness, familiarly 
called her 'the bosom serpent,' and the guardians he put 
over her repeatedly assured him that they would slay 
her, rather than let her escape. 2 

every offender shall surfer the payns of death and forfeyte . . . without 
benefit of Cleargie.' The priest Thomas Alfield suffered death, 6 July 
1585, under this act, though not for this clause. See his indictment, 
Catholic Record Society, v. 114. 

1 We shall find even her ministers in revolt against her capricious yet 
peremptory orders, p. 149. But Lord Burghley dexterously leads her to 
acquiesce in the ministerial plans, p. 151. 

2 In March 1585 one of Mary's custodians reported ' if any danger had 
been offered, or doubt suspected, the Queen's body should first have tasted 
of the gall.' In July following another wrote, ' I will never ask pardon, 

if she depart out of my hands If I be assaulted by force, / will be 

assured by the grace of God that she shall die before me.' Chalmers, Mary 
Stuart, ii. 142 ; J. Morris, Sir Amias Poulet, p. 49. 


Against the mighty powers and ferocious hearts of the 
English Council, the forces that supported the hopes of 
royal succession through the imprisoned Queen seem 
feeble, distant, and often quite misdirected. A cursory 
survey of the five years before the plot will make her 
position clearer. 

2. Enterprises, Leagues, and Excommunication Rumours. 

For almost a generation before the year 1581 the triumph 
of Elizabeth and of her religious revolution had seemed 
assured, both in England and in Scotland. By that year, 
however, the Catholic revival had become a considerable 
movement in England, especially since the landing of the 
two Jesuits Campion and Persons. By midsummer 1581 
the revival reached even to Edinburgh, and it was then 
seen that the balance of power was not at all as stable as 
it had appeared to be. Since 1579 James had come under 
the influence of his catholic cousin Esme Stuart, Sieur 
d'Aubigny, who had then returned from France. He 
procured the downfall of the Regent, the Earl of Morton, 
who was executed on the 1st of June 1581, while Esme 
became Duke of Lennox on the 8th of August following. 
But as he was not remarkable either for courage or for 
conscience, his day of power was short. He had originally 
yielded to the Kirk, and he felt that even now he could 
not resist it, without a considerable foreign force behind 
him. So he applied to Spain, to the Pope, and to his 
cousin the Duke of Guise, and he made use of Father 
William Crichton, S.J., as his messenger. Crichton's 
bright and interesting memoir will somewhat cheer us 
after our research into this gloomy tragedy (pp. 151-168). 
We shall recognise in him the courage, coolness, and 
capacity which should characterise a loyal Scotsman. 
Rut during this first mission, 1582-3, his enthusiasm 


unfortunately outran his prudence. While it inspired the 
whole of Mary's party for the moment, the lack of caution 
afterwards led to great disillusionment. 

Meanwhile the Duke of Guise discussed the subject at 
Paris with the Papal Nuncio, and with Juan Bautista de 
Taxis, the Spanish ambassador, on the 20th of May 1582, 
and within their council chamber all was favourable. It 
was agreed that messengers should be sent forthwith to 
Rome and to Madrid to urge the execution of the plans. 
Pope Gregory in turn heartily welcomed the idea, and 
promised such subsidies as he could, and Philip was also 
much inclined to join. He promised the services of his 
fleet, on its return from the Azores, whither it was starting 
to deal with the last resistance of the Portuguese in the 
war of succession. This it did victoriously in July 1582, 
but with its return to Lisbon in September, came bad 
news from Scotland. James had been captured by the 
Protestant party in ' the Raid of Ruthven,' and Lennox 
was in flight. The duke soon after died, and all his plans 
were abandoned. So ended the first ' Enterprise ' (to use 
the word then most in vogue) for Mary's liberation and 
restoration to the crown. 

Closely guarded as the captive Queen was, her name 
did not appear at all in the Spanish ambassador's first 
accounts of this undertaking. But Mendoza soon found 
that she must be reckoned with ; and then he writes 
that that Queen ' virtually manages all these matters ; 
and that the Scots are unwilling to conduct them other- 
wise than by her instructions and directions,' l a clear 
indication of her position, due partly to her birth, partly 
to her characteristic power of command. 

In the following spring, 1583, James freed himself again, 
and again appeared to be as keen as ever on his mother's 

1 Mendoza to Phillip, Spanish Calendar, pp. 291, 323. 


side. But the death of Lennox, who had held several of 
the strongest castles of Scotland, had seriously altered the 
position of affairs. The negotiations were indeed taken 
up exactly at the point they had reached in 1582 : but 
every one was more cautious. Philip, considering that a 
larger force would be needed than he could then supply, 
now refused to help. Indeed, much to Mary's regret, he 
never again agreed to the project. 1 He did not indeed 
exclude the possibility of war. Mendoza was instructed 
to use threatening language, and the Prince of Parma 
was not inactive in making remote preparations for the 
conflict. The long crisis reached its term at last, but only 
after Mary's death. The boldness of Drake and the 
English corsairs in ' singeing the King of Spain's beard,' 
finally convinced Philip that fight he must, if he would 
save his colonial empire. Babington and Mary were not 
mistaken in foreseeing that Elizabeth's policy must lead 
to war. But both, and especially Babington, erred greatly 
in believing, as he states categorically in his first letter to 
her, that the time was close at hand. 

The fatal niisconception of Babington and of his col- 
leagues that the catholic princes of Europe were ready 
to restore Catholicism by force was a popular, indeed an 
old misapprehension, of protestant origin. From the be- 
ginning of the Reformation, the Reformers had given 
wide credence to fables of a Grand Papal League for the 
extermination of heresy. It was a useful catch-word to 
keep all the new-religionists united ; and the threats used 
by catholic dignitaries of excommunications to be executed 
by imperial power, were easily misrepresented as support- 
ing these stories of papal leagues. In time, however, 
these illusory rumours began to die down in Germany, 
but only to reappear more boldly in the west. It was 

This we see in her long letter to Babington, below, p. 38. 



impossible for catholic nations to enter into any new 
amity or entente, without giving occasion to reports of 
some aggressive alliance. In 1579, for instance, Philip, 
while preparing to enforce his claims to the succession of 
the throne in Portugal, was arduous in soliciting aid from 
the Grand Duke of Florence and from other Italian princes. 
This immediately caused a crop of papal league rumours, 
and, what is much to be regretted, John Lesley, Bishop 
of Ross, and Mary's faithful but imprudent advocate, was 
one of the propagandists of this very mischievous mistake. 
It had, we may believe, had an especially deep effect upon 
Babington, because it was rife in France just at the time 
he made his grand tour there, and was in an unusually 
receptive mood. We find him recurring to it even in his 

There is no evidence that Mary fully accepted this 
figment, though dally with it perhaps she might. Eliza- 
beth also would not accept the malevolent credulity of her 
ministers in these matters without some resistance. ' Her 
Majesty,' wrote Leicester, ' is slow to believe that the great 
increase of papists is of danger to the realm. The Lord of 
His mercy open her eyes ! ' 2 Eventually, however, she 
fully gave way to her entourage. 

Connected with the fable of a papal league is that of 
alleged frequent renewals of the sentence of excommunica- 
tion against Elizabeth. In fact, she was excommunicated 
once only, viz. in 1570. In 1583 indeed, during the 
preparation of the Empresa for that year, briefs were 

1 See below, pp. 84, 85, etc. I have told the story of this bogus league in 
the sixth chapter of The English Catholics in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
Lesley wrote of it to the English ambassador at Paris in July 1580, 
Foreign Calendar, 1580, p. 372, etc. This rumoured league soon became 
part of the stock in trade of the persecutors ; and was recounted at the 
trials of Campion and other martyrs. It still finds its place in our popular 

2 Leicester to Walsingham, 5 Sept. 1582. Domestic Calendar, p. 69. 


drafted for its renovation. But as war was at once 
negatived by King Philip, all the preparations were laid 
aside, and the matter lapsed into oblivion until our own 
days, when the document was published in The Month. 1 
All the alleged republications are fictitious. 

3. The Ban against the Prince of Orange, 25 August 1580. 

It is hardly necessary to say that an excommunication 
is not a ban ; it does not set a price on the head of the 
person under sentence, and the bull of Pope Pius did not 
even exhort Elizabeth's subjects to throw off her yoke. 
But there was in force at this very time a ban which was 
causing much discussion, and which had much greater 
influence, on the Babington plot than the bull Regnans 
in cxcelsis against Elizabeth. -'This was the sentence pro- 
nounced by the Brussels government under Spanish 
influence against William the Silent, Prince of Orange, 
and Stadholder of the Netherlands. 

The career of William was in many ways parallel to that 
of Elizabeth. As she had gradually protestantised the 
country and drawn it into hostility to Spain, so had 
William done with previously catholic Holland, over the 
administration of which Philip had at first given him much 
authority. But William not only led the people into 
change of religion, but also into open rebellion against 
Alva's disastrous misgovernment. After this Philip, his 
love and confidence having turned into detestation, began 
to cherish plans for William's assassination ; and so did 
all the Spanish governors of the Netherlands, with the 
honourable exception of Don John. 

When Alexander Farnese of Parma succeeded Don John 

1 The Month, April 1902, p. 395. Further details in Meyer's Elizabeth, 
and the Catholic Church, p. 244. It is also alluded to in the Spanish 
Calendar (1596), p. 631, 9. 


in 1578, Philip ordered him to put a price on William's 
head, and in doing so, to follow exactly the precedents 
which had been set by Charles v., in pronouncing the ban 
of the Empire on earlier reforming princes. Farnese 
obeyed, though not very promptly. The ban was for- 
mulated on the 15th of March, and published on the 25th 
of August 1580 ; and we may say that public morality, 
not only in catholic but even in papal circles, then took a 
distinct step downwards on the subject of assassination. 

Hitherto there had not been one charge of plotting 
against Elizabeth's life, brought by protestants against 
catholics, nor is any known to us from other sources. 1 
But after this time, and for so long as the discussion of 
the ban on Orange continued, there is a distinct change. 
We do then find frequent charges of such plotting. Some 
catholics, moreover, then discuss regicide in a lax way. 
^and we also find a reprehensible facility among some foreign 
ecclesiastics of high place in extenuating plans of assassina- 
tion. 2 But a few years later still, after Orange had been 
murdered, and the ban had lapsed, the atmosphere cleared. 
Charges of murder plots again become very rare, and they 
are evidently fictitious. Catholics never discuss them, and 
we find the next Pope, Sixtus v., taking a strong position 
against any abuses in this matter. 

4. Consequences of the Ban. 

\. The first known instance of any discussion among 
the English catholics concerning the assassination of the 
Queen occurred at the end of 1580, not long after the ban 

1 I am speaking broadly. Of course, plots were (falsely) reported at 
times of excitement, such as followed the Rising of the North. But no 
formal charges were proffered, no evidence was proposed, there were no 
indictments found. 

2 The stories of Dr. Ely, of George Gifford and of Parry, which will be 
given immediately, illustrate these clauses. 


was published. The subject had been mooted in England, 
but so little were the English able to settle the question, 
which the ban had placed in a new light, that ' they ' (we 
do not know any names) requested Humphrey Ely, an 
Oxford Doctor of Laws, to go abroad and ask for further 
information from, some ecclesiastic of high authority. So 
Ely went to Madrid, and questioned the Nuncio there, who 
was strongly inclined to approve, as one might have ex- 
pected from an envoy in favour at Madrid. We learn this 
from the Nuncio's extant letter (14 November 1580) to 
the Cardinal of Como at Rome ; and the Cardinal (alas !) 
wrote back giving a full consent. He had evidently 
entirely embraced the principles of the ban. In this case, 
however, the debate, plan, or plot, or whatever it was, 
came to nothing, and Ely never returned to England. 1 

2. Early in 1583 we find the plot of George Gifford, 
who offered the Duke of Guise that he would assassinate 
Elizabeth, if a certain large sum was sealed up and placed 
in security for him to receive in case of success. But 
before the negotiations had gone very far, information 
was received that Gifford was not to be relied upon, and 

1 I have discussed this case in The Month, June 1902, quoting the 
documents. Dr. A. O. Meyer, England and the Catholic Church under 
Elizabeth, 270, and Ap. xviii. p. 490, quotes still more extensively. Meyer 
accepts the statement of the nuncio, Mgr. Sega, who says in error that 
Pius in his bull gave special licence to all Elizabeth's vassals ' enabling 
them to bear arms against her impune.' Pius does not say this. He 
calculated that the insurrection had begun, and trusted that it had suc- 
ceeded, though in fact it had been crushed before he wrote. He does not 
so much as exhort catholics to throw off her yoke, but declares that she has 
forfeited her rights, and is no longer to be obeyed. 

Sega's error was a natural one, and broadly speaking the bull supposes, 
what he mistakenly affirms that it states. The bull was not reprinted 
till 1586, so it must have been difficult to consult the text in 1581. 
Babington made the same mistake, below, p. 21, n. 3. Being an easy error, 
the two are not necessarily connected. But Sega had come from Flanders, 
and Babington also was inspired by news from thence. So it is not im- 
possible that both errors were due to the discussions of the ban in that 


the affair dropped (pp. 169-175). We shall have to return 
to this later, because the Babington plot was in some sense 
a later development of this intrigue : meanwhile we proceed 
to Dr. William Parry, who began his treasonable practices 
about the same time. 

3. William Parry was a ruined courtier, who had incurred 
the sentence of death for assaulting one of his creditors 
with violence. After some time in trouble, and occasion- 
ally even in prison, he resolved to seek his fortune abroad, 
for he was full of ambition and not altogether wanting in 
good qualities. So in August 1582 he went to Paris, and 
began to study law there. He also alleges that he then 
made a profession of catholicity ; perhaps he made some 
necessary oath or profession preliminary to the degree in 
law, which he took next year. He now began to give him- 
self the airs of a politique and a philosophe, and he also 
began to ' feel the minds ' of priests in regard to regicide, 
which was then, in consequence of ' the ban,' a common 
subject of conversation. But the result of it all was that 
the other English catholic exiles became more and more 
suspicious of him. To escape ill consequences he made 
one journey to Venice, and afterwards another to Lyons, 
where he saw Father Crichton, S.J. 1 Thence he went to 
Milan, where he was favoured, perhaps, by that enthusiastic 
Welsh nationalist Dr. Owen Lewis, who may have com- 
mended him to Pope Gregory xiu. He would not, however, 
go to Rome, but returned to Paris in October, where 
he then found himself in better conceit with catholic 
Welshmen. He now began to discuss the above-mentioned 
questions with Thomas Morgan, and they were soon in- 
volved in plans for the Queen's murder. In December 1583 

1 In regard to his promised reception into the Church, Crichton reported 
favourably of his talents, but would not vouch for his intentions. To the 
Card, de Como, 5, 17, 18 July 1583, R.O., Roman Transcripts, 80. 


Parry took his degree in Laws, styled himself Dr. Parry, 
and prepared to return. 

One of the preliminaries was to write, 1st January 1584, 
and ask the Pope for an indulgence for a certain enterprise, 
which he had in hand tending to the ' liberation of the 
Queen of Scotland ' and to other advantages for the 
catholic cause ; but nothing definite was stated about the 
nature or about the details of the project. The Nuncio 
at Paris, who forwarded this petition, accompanied it, 
however, with repeated warnings against Parry as a spy. 
But Pope Gregory, and his secretary the Cardinal of Como, 
possibly relying on Lewis's commendations, very unwisely 
disregarded the Nuncio's warnings, and ordered him to 
send on a letter giving Parry the indulgence he requested. 
As he had not asked for any reward in money, they thought 
he might be relied upon ! 

Meanwhile Parry, having now returned, contrived to 
secure a personal interview with the Queen, and interested 
her with his flowery stories of the treasons he had dis- 
covered overseas. He assured her that he was expecting 
a letter of indulgence from the Pope, which would confirm 
all his statements ; and in due course the letter came. 
Elizabeth was delighted, and now fully believed in Parry's 
ability and skill. He was rewarded, his debts remitted, 
and in the parliamentary elections of that autumn he was 
given the seat of Queenborough. 

5. Consequences of the Murder of Orange. 1584. 

Though the ban caused the bitterest indignation in 
England, this did not show itself openly till the beginning 
of 1584. The end of 1583 had been marked by a series of 
alarms. John Somerville, a weak-minded catholic gentle- 
man of Warwickshire, declared that he would punish the 
Queen, ran into the street with his sword drawn, which 


gave the alarmists the chance they wanted for exciting 
the Queen and the public. There followed two similar 
cases, those of William Carter and Francis Throckmorton, 
which though not dangerous, were rather mystifying. A 
persistent plot-scare ensued. c Les desfiances sont sy 
grandes a present pardeQa, que Ion a subson des ombres,' 
wrote Castelnau to France. 1 When the Prince of Orange 
was finally shot 30 June/10 July, the excitement became 
intense, and when this had begun to die down again in 
October, it was revived by the ' Band of Association for 
the Safety of the Queen,' which was devised by Cecil and 
Walsingham on a Dutch model. 

This was taken with enthusiasm by whole counties and 
provinces, though the Queen never was nor would be for 
a moment in danger. The popular ardour would indeed 
have been laudable, had it not also been so extremely 
sectarian and bloodthirsty. On the first news of the 
assassination Francis Throckmorton was haled from 
prison, where he had lain under sentence for two months, 
and butchered in public (10/20 July 1584). Similarly when 
the Band of Association was about to be signed in Flint- 
shire, Richard White, a catholic Welshman, incredible 
though this may seem to us, was quartered alive for his 
faith at Wrexham. We now know a further curious 
coincidence (which nowhere appears in the trial or acts of 
this martyrdom), viz. that White had written in Welsh 
an ode of triumph on hearing of the death of Orange. 2 
When we remember that White was only a poor school- 

1 i January 1584, Catholic Record Society, xxi. 42. 

2 The translation begins, ' Thou, Orange, fat and tedious ; Every one 
is glad when thou art enclosed in the grave : Thou drivedst yonder to 
sadden us ; do thou thyself be silent now : When I under oppression 
heard a speech recited, which pleased me, I sang aloud (I did not wait) 
Te Deum twice well nigh.' It is a remarkably vigorous piece, printed by 
me in Catholic Record Society, v. 98, 99. For the Life of White see Lives of 
the English Martyrs (Series u. 1914, i. 127). 


master in a remote country town, we can surmise how hot 
was the ferment everywhere, when news arrived that the 
protestant hero was no more. Inspired with enthusiasm 
White's carol bursts out with as much fierce joy as if the 
poet had been a soldier in the Spanish ranks. In words 
he was almost as ferocious as his persecutors were with 
knife and rope. 

In this same excited mood the Band was everywhere 
taken in the protestant church, and it was soon supple- 
mented by the bloody code called ' the laws of 27 Eliza- 
beth ' under which catholic priests could be and would be 
put to death amid atrocious tortures, merely for their 
sacred character. 1 The gist of the Band of Association 
was this, that all who took it should persecute to the death 
that person in whose favour any plot should be formed 
against Elizabeth's life. 

Any one can see what a threat this was to Mary. Accord- 
ing to the letter of the Band, the plot might be unknown 
to Mary, or even a fictitious charge, and yet might have 
consequences fatal to her. For when the oath was taken, 
nothing had been said as to previous legal inquiries. Any 
of Mary's enemies might therefore, by concocting a plot, 
give occasion for her slaughter, especially as she was 
surrounded with guards, who yearned for her murder. 
Alas, what little difference there was, morally speaking, 
between the Ban and the Band. One barbarity of the 
latter, however, was to some extent remedied by Parlia- 
ment, when it was redrafted in the form of an Act. It was 
then provided that legal proceedings should be taken before 
execution, and Mary eventually suffered under this law. 

Thus was the Puritan party familiarised with the project 

1 The order of priesthood was supposed to make priests ' the Pope's 
men,' and therefore ipso facto traitors. This law was potent for mischief 
during a century ; then lapsed into desuetude, and was tardily repealed 
in 1844. 


of putting Mary to death, an idea in itself repugnant to the 
profound reverence which the English people as a whole 
cherished for royalty, as well to the reverence felt towards 
the legitimate heiress to the throne, with whom many 
sympathised much more deeply than they dared to show 

One of the first victims of the new blood-lust, to which 
the agitation had given rise, was Dr. Parry himself. He 
was fond of playing the philosopher, and in truth he was 
not without some humane and better feelings. He was 
not a mere brutal, man-hunting sleuth-hound, such as were 
so many others, whom we shall meet later on. Even in 
his correspondence with Burghley and Walsingham he 
endeavours to draw distinctions between catholic and 
catholic. He would play the traitor to papal agents, to 
the Jesuits and to most of the clergy, but he deprecated 
indiscriminate persecution, which as he knew to his cost 
made the name of England hateful throughout the Con- 
tinent. In his interviews with Elizabeth he had touched 
on this same point, and she had in brave words assured him 
that ' never a catholic should be troubled for religion or 
supremacy, so long as they lived like good subjects.' 
Alas, that her laws and her practice so flatly belied her 
professions ! 

Her words, however, confirmed Parry in his endeavour 
to pose as a superior person. He thought he could take 
sides against the catholic leaders, while opposing the 
persecution of catholics merely as such. But such an 
affectation was not likely to be tolerated by the frenzied 
parliament of 1584-1585. 

On 17 December 1584, the bloody code of laws against 
the catholics passed the Commons ' with little or no argu- 
ment,' whereupon Parry declared that the measure 
4 savoured of treasons, and was full of confiscations, blood, 
danger, despair, and terror to the subjects of this realm ; 


. . . and that he would reserve his reasons for so saying 
for her Majesty.' 

Though the inconstant philosopher was soon excusing 
himself on his knees for his speech, he was committed to 
the custody of the serjeant for his offence, but was freed 
next day by the Queen's orders. This, however, was the 
last time that she exerted herself in his favour. She was 
perhaps scared by the ensuing events ; at all events she soon 
became altogether changed, as irritable and bloodthirsty 
as the most intolerant Puritan. ' Never,' wrote Walsing- 
ham, ' have I seen her Majesty so much commoved.' 

Parry's strange career had in fact reached its term. 
He was in money difficulties, and thought he saw a way 
out of them by playing anew his old trade of informer. He 
talked treason with one Edmund Neville, the titular Lord 
Latimer, a returned exile, whom Elizabeth's government 
was treating harshly. Each schemer probably wanted to 
betray the other, but Neville was the more successful, 
laying an information on 9 February 1585, which caused 
Parry's arrest and eventually his sacrifice at Tyburn not 
merely for the words spoken to Neville, 1 but for the whole 
intrigue with Morgan and the Cardinal of Como. There 
was, of course, the difficulty that Parry had but lately been 
rewarded for the ven^ same ' treasons,' for which he was 
now to be executed. But this was got over by invoking 
the name of the Queen, against whom no reproach could 
be openly levelled. During Parry's trial Sir Christopher 
Hatton said that the Queen was so ' magnanimous, that, 
after thou haddest opened those traitorous practices (with 
Morgan) in sort as thou hast laid it down in thy confession, 
she would not so much as acquaint any one of her High- 

1 We shall see below that, according to the procedure in Elizabeth's 
court, a provocateur had not only to obtain a general approval (such as 
Parry might have claimed to hold), but also a specific permit for each new 
treason, if he wished to keep safe. This Parry had confessedly not 


ness's Privy Council with it. ... No not till this enter- 
prise [with Neville] was discovered and made manifest.' 

This was a cryptic way of saying that the Queen had 
changed her mind and would defend him no longer ; so 
Parry underwent, in Palace Yard, Westminster, the appal- 
ling sentence for high treason on the 2nd of March 1585. 
Though his conspiracy was a bogus one from first to last, 
it was, of course, highly criminal in itself. One cannot 
affect sympathy with the victim, though he was perhaps 
no worse than many another courtier of that day. 

The incident of Dr. Parry is important on many accounts. 
Keeping, however, the circumstances of the Babington 
plot in view we may notice that Parry tried thrice, but in 
vain, to elicit from priests opinions in favour of regicide. 

He consulted Father William Crichton about it at Lyons, 
probably early in 1583, but the Scotsman repeatedly 
answered, Omnino non licet, ' It is altogether forbidden,' 
and explained that if priests cause bloodshed they become 
irregular ; that is, unable to exercise their sacerdotal 
functions. 1 

When leaving France, early in 1584, Parry met William 
Watts, or Waytes, 2 a secular priest, and began to talk to 
him of his plans, altering, however, the names of those 
concerned. Watts pronounced this case ' utterly unlawful, 
and with him many English Priests did agree, as I have 
heard.' Christopher Driland, a priest in England, con- 
sulted by Parry, also dissuaded him. But because he 
did not denounce him, he was afterwards kept in prison 
till the end of Elizabeth's long reign. 3 

But against this united feeling of English and Scottish 

1 Holinshed, Chronicle, iv. 572. R.O., France, xiii., under i March 
1585, a letter from Crichton, who says, ' Whosoever was consenting to 
the conspiration of any death, was to be degraded and deprived [? of the 
use of] his order of priesthood, and to be punished with extremity.' 

2 Parry's Declaration, 3. In State Trials, HoJinshed, etc. 

3 Law, Jesuits and Seculars, 1889, p. 135. 


priests, we have to set the blameworthy and extremely 
stupid letter of the Cardinal of Como, giving Parry an 
indulgence. I call it stupid, because he insisted on its 
being forwarded by the Nuncio at Paris, who had re- 
peatedly assured him that Parry was a rascal. The XJase 
against the Cardinal (who has also appeared in the story 
of Ely, and of George Gifford) is clearly a strong one. 
Though he never pronounced in favour of assassination, 
there seems no doubt that he was for the time infected by 
the ' Ban-fever,' which had taken a firm hold on many 
of his contemporaries. 

1. The events described in this section show us certain 
changes in the circumstances of the Scottish Queen, which 
made the Babington plot a possibility. Chief among these 
was the Spanish ban against the Prince of Orange, which 
familiarised catholics with the defence of regicide, and 
caused a distinct lowering of moral standards on this 
subject, even among catholic churchmen in high places. 
It also occasioned various bogus plots, which caused much 
bitter feeling. The actual murder of the Prince led to 
the Band of Association and to the acts of Parliament 
which eventually regulated Mary's trial. It familiarised 
not only the Puritans, but many others, who had hitherto 
regarded the blood royal as sacrosanct and inviolable, 
with the idea of the Scottish Queen's murder. 

2. The Catholic revival of 1581 had also had a subtle 
but deep effect. It indirectly encouraged all those of the 
ancient faith to regard their co-religionists abroad, as 
possible, or even probable allies. It filled them with 
courage and ambition to free themselves from the in- 
sufferable persecution, with which they were oppressed. 

3. The permanent factors in the situation were, on the 
one hand, the power which Mary possessed over all con- 
servative minds, in virtue of her being the legitimate heir 


to the throne, and, on the other, the hatred with which 
she was followed by Walsingham and his party, for ever 
thirsting for her blood. Elizabeth was not bent on Mary's 
death, but she was intensely interested in the spy system, 
and we see her in the case of Parry easily won over to a 
course of horrible cruelty. 


SPIES AND DUPES, 1584-1585. 

The present section may at first seem not only gloomy 
but also disconnected and incoherent. But these un- 
fortunate qualities are, alas ! also germane to the story 
we are following. Our drama originated among men far 
removed from being great characters. Its first beginnings 
must be sought among minds unbalanced and depraved 
by the controversies over the ban. Rascals of varying 
degrees of infamy are at work endeavouring to give a 
downward turn to tendencies which are already repre- 
hensible. There is nothing for it but to watch these un- 
pleasant gentlemen, and their hardly less repellent dupes. 
It is amongst them that the situation will take form and 

1. Walsingham' s Political Morality. 

As soon as Elizabeth heard of the accusations brought 
by Dr. Parry against Thomas Morgan, she passionately 
vowed to be revenged upon him, and ordered her ambas- 
sador in Paris to present an urgent request to the King 
of France for his arrest and extradition. 1 The King had 
many reasons for wishing to stand well with her, and 

1 R.O., Foreign, Elizabeth, France, xiii., under February 1585. 


complied so far as to throw the man into the Bastille 
(1 March 1585), and to put his correspondence under lock 
and key ; but he was slow to go further. The English 
Queen was naturally detested by the French people, and 
the officials, of course, arranged that nothing compromising 
should be found among Morgan's papers when the time 
came for giving them up. As for handing over Mary's 
servant to be tortured into a confession of guilt, the French 
King, despicable as his general policy was, would not 
consent to make himself guilty of so dishonourable a 
breach of the law of nations. 

In her deep vexation Elizabeth wrote to the King a 
characteristic letter, which began by saying she was 
' enragee ' at receiving his note, and concluded with the 
words : ' I swear to you that if he is denied me, I shall 
conclude that I have joined a league not with a King but 
with a Papal Legate or the President of a seminary. I 
shall be as much ashamed at yours as I should at their 
bad company.' 1 

No wonder that Morgan was rather better than worse 
treated after such an outburst of spleen. But for all 
that the Welshman was kept in. the Bastille, more keen 
than ever to be revenged on his enemies, who on their side 
were more than ever alert to entrap the rash, quarrelsome 
man in some intrigue that might ruin both him and his 

We must not, of course, go so far as to think that 
Walsingham planned beforehand every step subsequently 
taken by his spies and employes ; nor has any evidence 
been brought to support the allegation that he even had 
some of the principal conspirators in his pay. There was 
a rumour at the time that he had employed Ballard ; 
and Queen Mary alluded to it at her trial, whereupon 

1 R.O., Foreign. Elizabeth, France, xiii. f. 127, under 10 March 1585. 


Walsingham arose and made a protest, which is worthy 
of attention : 

My mind is far from malice. I call God to record that as a 
private person I have done nothing unbeseeming an honest man. 
Nor, as I bear the place of a public man, have I done anything 
unworthy of my place. I confess that, being very careful for 
the safety of the Queen and realm, I have curiously searched 
out practices against the same. If Ballard had offered me his 
help, I would not have refused it. Yea, I would have recom- 
pensed the pains he had taken. If I have practised anything 
with him, why did he not utter it to save his life ? l 

Walsingham therefore ' calls God to record ' that he 
has done as a private person ' nothing unbeseeming an 
honest man,' nor as a public man, 4 anything unworthy of 
my place.' We notice the significant distinction between 
private and public honesty, and the low standard claimed 
for the latter, and we see that he maintains that the worst 
he had done even in his public capacity is ' curiously to 
search out practices,' and to encourage, ' yea, recompense,' 
informers who offered him their services. 

This acknowledgment is probably true to this extent, 
that Walsingham did not as a rule assume in person the 
part of tempter, nor prescribe to his spies and agents the 
exact line they were to take. But to say this and no more 
would be to understate his responsibility for the plots, 
whicfi he gloried in bringing to light and which, his admirers 
believe, would have been the ruin of England but for his 
patriotic services. 

These admirers forget that there would have been no 
conspirators, but for the multitude of injured men then 
in England who had no remedy for their wrongs ; and that 
their wrongs and sufferings were the result of the cruel 
and tyrannical persecution of which Walsingham was the 
chief upholder. Long before the Babington plot, he had 

1 State Trials, 1730, p. 145. 


no doubt banished from his mind his responsibility for 
the cruelties with which he was familiar; and he could 
appeal with a calm conscience to the All-Knowing to 
record his innocence. ' My mind is free from malice.' 
That is to say he saw nothing amiss in the system of 
violence, cant, and fraud in which he was the principal 
agent. He encouraged, assisted, and c recompensed the 
pains ' of his informers, and by so doing he clearly made 
himself, in the sight of Him whom he invoked, responsible 
for the treachery and lies, and wickedness of their multi- 
plied and prolonged plotting against the life of his victim. 

2. Thomas Morgan and Charles Paget. 

The efforts of these spies were favoured by many cir- 
cumstances, above all by the venturesome and pugnacious 
character of Thomas Morgan. He had acquired Mary's 
favour by his activity in finding messengers for her corre- 
spondence, and in dunning the French government for 
the payment of her dowry, and she had rewarded him by 
giving him her confidence, and the control over a large part 
of her income, which was a great source of power among 
the poor catholic exiles. Amongst these there had arisen 
a quarrel between the 4 Welsh ' and the ' English ' party ; 
and Morgan, as the leader of the ' Welsh,' had undertaken 
a fierce vendetta against Dr. Allen, Father Persons, and the 
other leaders of the c English,' and, as will presently be seen, 
he even troubled the discipline of the college at Rheims. 
Whatever the merits of the quarrel, it could eventually 
only tell in Mary's disfavour. 

The restraints of the Bastille contributed to the same 
result. Had Morgan been free, and able to make personal 
inquiries into the credentials of those whom we shall see 
palming themselves off upon him as friends and sym- 
pathisers, he would not, I feel sure, have been befoole4 


as grossly as he was, time after time. His detention was at 
once sufficiently lax to allow the adventurous to have access 
to him, yet sufficiently strict to exclude ordinary friends, 
and withal to excite continually his desire for revenge. 

Unable to attend personally to the important negotia- 
tions confided to him by his mistress, Morgan now made 
use of Mr. Charles Paget as his lieutenant, a man who in his 
turn proved as unreliable as his chief. To say nothing of 
certain quarrels which preceded his leaving England, 1 we 
find him at first begging Elizabeth for pardon (1582). 
When his prayer was refused, he flew to the opposite ex- 
treme, and encouraged Elizabeth's foreign enemies and 
conspirators against her life. When Mary was dead, and 
his pension from her had ceased, he returned (1596-1598) 
to his old prayer for mercy from England, and attacked 
the Jesuits with the utmost virulence, charging Persons, 
for instance, with having given that encouragement to 
Parry and Savage, of which he himself had been guilty. 
His prayers were again spurned, the English agents de- 
scribing him as ' an unconstant fellow, full of practices, 
true to no side ' (June 1599). 2 Eventually, however, after 
King James's accession, he obtained pardon, and so made 
his exit with better fortune, surely, than he deserved. But 
whatever be said about his quarrels and changes of side, one 
thing at least seems clear, that he was not the right man to 
help Morgan through a difficult crisis, when great prudence 
and great self-restraint were imperatively required. 

It was perhaps the weakest point in Mary's otherwise 
wonderful character that she was a bad judge of men. All 

1 Catholic Record Society, ii. p. 183. 

2 The article on Paget in the Dictionary of National Biography is rather 
incomplete. For the quarrel with the Jesuits, see his articles and their 
answers, Stony hurst, Anglia, ii. n. 46; also Catholic Record Society, ii. p. 183 ; 
Domestic Calendars for 1598, 1599, pp. 68, 234. Strype, iv. i. 389 ; 
Tierney-Dodd, iii. p. xcv. ; and Winwood's Negociations, i. 52, 71, 89, 112, 
etc. ; and my Institution of the Archpriest Blackwell, 1916. 


her calamities may be said to have come from her inability 
to distinguish between men who, though shallow and im- 
prudent, were attractive, pushful, self-assertive, and those 
who, though in reality more capable, steadfast and estim- 
able, did not make so brave a show. She was not, I think, 
deceived (though some opponents have said she was) in 
believing Morgan and Paget to have been at heart faithful to 
her. But their good intentions were not likely to counter- 
balance the ill results, which were morally sure to follow 
from leaving the guidance of her fortunes to persons so 
unscrupulous, so quarrelsome, so reckless as they. It was 
the, opinion of Cardinal Allen at the time that Mary was 
'ruinated' by her servants' 'unfortunate proceedings,' and 
Dr. Lingard arrived at the same conclusion upon a mature 
consideration of the papers published subsequently. 1 

3. Walsingham's Spies. 

(1) The first to offer Walsingham his services against 
Morgan was one Robert Bruce, a Scotch gentleman of good 
family, the younger brother of the Laird of Binnie. His 
treachery was not suspected by our older historians, but 
now his career has been briefly but well described by the 
late T. G. Law in the Appendix to the Dictionary of National 
Biography, though even this writer was not aware that 
Bruce's bad faith began in 1585. Just before Morgan's 
arrest Bruce was on the one hand procuring from him 
ample letters of credence and information about all 
the plans of the party, while on the other he was 
proffering these secrets to the English Secretary through 
the ambassador at Paris, but on the condition that he must 
be well paid. Sir Edward Stafford thereupon wrote home : 

'He promiseth and offereth great things, but plainly he 
sayeth that "a working man is worthy of his hire," and will 

1 Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, p. 328 ; and Lingard's History, vi. 
pp. 405, 569, 640. 


not put himself in danger without certainty of a reward (both 
standing for his life) as long as he serveth well : and now also 
presently, for, as he sayeth, he is in debt almost two hundred 
crowns here. Because it is an extraordinary reward, I thought 
good to advertise you, that her Majesty's pleasure may be 
known ; as also what he shall trust to have, while he doth 
service to deserve it. ... 

' The man is a great papist, and you may be sure that it is 
either spite or gain or both, that maketh him to do it. I 
leave all things to your honour's judgment. But in my 
judgment two hundred crowns were well ventured to get 
such an service, for I think that he will be able and willing to 
discover matter of importance. 

* Although there be no trust to a knave, that will deceive them 
that trust him ; yet such as he is must be entertained. For 
if there were no knaves, honest men should hardly come by 
the truth of any enterprise against them.' 1 

The last sentence is a good example of the political 
morality of Walsingham and his subordinates. ' Knaves 
must be entertained that honest men may come by the 
truth ! ' Elizabeth's parsimony seems to have saved her 
on this occasion from having directly encouraged Bruce' s 
knavery. But the only reason for thinking so, is because 
we find him a year later still offering to sacrifice his honour 
for English gold, and Stafford still urging the advantage 
of employing him. 

(2) Robert Pooley, or Poley, was a much worse sort of 
intriguer. He was in Walsingham' s confidence at the 
same time that he was hailed as ' Sweet Robin ' by Bab- 
ington and his friends. When the plot' was approaching 
maturity it was his role to keep the plotters within the 
reach of Walsingham' s arm until everything was ready 
for their destruction. , 

On this occasion he came direct from England to the 

1 Stafford to Walsingham. R.O., Foreign, Elizabeth, France, xiii. 
25 January 1585. 


Bastille, bringing with him letters from Christopher 
(afterwards Sir Christopher) Blount, a gentleman in 
Leicester's retinue. Morgan had most imprudently asked 
Blount to correspond with himself and Mary, and Blount' s 
answer was to send Poley, who played his part so well 
that both Morgan and Paget wrote in July 1585 com- 
mending him to their mistress. 

A week later, however, Morgan heard that Poley's letter 
had been intercepted. His means of conveyance should 
be avoided therefore until the mischance were explained. 1 
Later on Morgan returned to his praises, while Mary 
warned Babington against him. 

(3) George (afterwards Sir George) Gifford of Itchell, 
Hants, and Weston - under - Hill, Gloucester, has been 
mentioned above. He was born of a family which long 
remained catholic, and his brother, Dr. William Gifford, 
eventually became Archbishop of Rheims. George lost 
his father when he was quite young. In 1578, when a 
mere youth, he was drawn into Elizabeth's court, and made 
a Gentleman Pensioner, but he soon wasted his patrimony 
by extravagance, and became involved in disreputable and 
criminal enterprises. In 1586, when he had been arrested 
on suspicion of complicity in Babington' s plot, 2 it was 
found that he was ' wanted ' for a whole series of mis- 
demeanours, receiving stolen goods, assisting burglars, and 
profit-sharing with robbers of many sorts. 3 Still, he did 
not lose his place, or the royal favour, was eventually 
knighted for service against Spain, married a wife from 

1 Morgan's letter of 20 July 1585, printed in full in Murdin, State 
Papers, 1759, p. 446, and in the Hatfield Calendar, iii. p. 101. See also 
R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xvi. 7, 8, 15, 17, 70. Phelippes was jealous of 
Poley, as the adherent of a rival courtier. 

2 He then carved his name and arms in the Beauchamp Tower. 

3 R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, cxcv. 58 (13 Dec. 1586). ' Articles against 
Gifford.' For the charges of April 1583, see ibid. clx. 29. 


the all-powerful Cecil family, and died a successful and an 
honoured man, in this world's estimate. 1 

In April 1583, however, as in 1586, he was in difficulties 
with the police. One Nix, a noted highwayman of those 
days, had broken prison, and Gifford was implicated in 
the affair. He therefore found it advisable to cross over 
to the Continent, where he occupied himself in a bold 
speculation. He applied at the beginning of May, to the 
Duke of Guise, for a large sum of money, which he asked 
to have locked up, and the key delivered into his possession, 
until he should assassinate Elizabeth. 

Before many days had passed, the worthlessness of 
Gifford became known, and his project was rejected. But 
at first, alas ! it was tolerated ; such was the demoralisa- 
tion which I attribute to the Ban, and to the wars of 
religion. The Duke's father had been assassinated by 
the Protestants, and this murder had exercised an evil 
influence over the son, a brilliant soldier, who might in 
better times have been a national hero. His first impulse 
was to accept, and he communicated the plan to the 
ambassador of Spain and to the Papal Nuncio, and both, it 
must be confessed, gave ear to the proposal with the most 
reprehensible calmness. They were not asked to approve 
the project, only to take advantage of it, and to be ready 
for the debacle which it was hoped would follow. They 
had the decency to appear a little ashamed of the project, 
but in effect they raised no objection. They communi- 
cated the plans, not indeed to their masters, but to their 
respective Secretaries of State, who in their turns took 
the news as calmly as Cecil did, when he read that of the 
impending murder of Rizzio ; as quietly as Elizabeth 
when suggesting to Poulet the advantage of ridding her of 

1 See The Giffavds, by Major-Gen, the Hon. George Wrottesley, 1902, 
who however shows little grasp of the Babington plot period. 


Mary. But murder by State trial was so well under- 
stood in Elizabeth's court, that the use of poison or of 
the stiletto was little needed, and little practised. 1 

The letters about the conspiracy of George Gifford have 
been printed more than once, and an abstract of them will 
be found below at p. 169. They throw a strong light on the 
temper of mind which made the Babington plot a possi- 
bility. The age of which we write, perfectly understood 
that assassination could never be actually allowed, but 
it had not yet appreciated how much harm the least 
condonation of such crime could do to the body politic. 
The sequel to our story will show but too sadly and surely 
how many miserable calamities might have been averted 
from the catholic cause, but for those unworthy answers 
to George Gifford' s vile offers. The answers became 
known (in an inaccurate version) to the provocateur Gilbert 
Gifford, who used them to tempt Savage, Ballard, Bab- 
ington, and his friends. Alas ! they formed one of the 
chief snares by which those poor fellows were brought to 
their doom, and thereby Mary to hers. 

To return to George Gifford : his intrigue in Paris was 
carried on during the month of May 1583, at the end of 
which month the Nuncio writes that it will come to nothing. 
Before midsummer George was back at Elizabeth's court 
acting as Gentleman Pensioner, and drew his half a crown a 
day, as ' bourdwagis,' for 'four score and seventeen dayes,' 
that is, for the whole summer quarter, 24 June to 28 Sep- 
tember 1583. 2 He said nothing that we can trace about 
his bogus plot. If he ever gave it up is unknown, 

1 ' Trial for high treason seems in this reign to have been a formal but 
certain means of destroying an obnoxious man. Nobody was, nor does 
it appear how anyone possibly could be acquitted.' J. Reeves, History 
of English Law, ed. Finlason, 1869, iii. 810. 

2 R.O., Exchequer of Receipt, Gentlemen Pensioners' Rolls, no. 14. 
The rolls for the three previous quarters are unfortunately wanting. 
He continued to receive his pension while in the Tower, in 1586. Roll 17. 


and seems unlikely. He was arrested, however, with the 
Babington conspirators in September 1586 ; through the 
use which Gilbert Gifford had made of his name. He then 
denied the evidence brought against him, and escaped. 1 

This escape and his subsequent prosperity, when so 
much against him was known, raises a strong suspicion 
that he was acting a double part, for most, if not for all 
the time. 

(4) At this point an account of Parry's intercourse with 
Morgan would have been in place, had there not been an 
occasion to give it in the previous section. There can 
be no question that this was a clear case of provocation. 

(5) The next tempter to proffer his services to Morgan 
was Nicholas Berden, whose real name seems to have 
been Thomas Rogers. We know nothing definite about 
his early history. Roger, or Rogers, was a name taken by 
more than one spy ; so that caution must be used in 
classifying references. 2 Berden was employed not only 
against Morgan, but still more against Philip, Earl of 
Arundel. In the Earl's correspondence, printed by the 
Catholic Record Society, 3 twenty-six of Berden' s letters 
will be found, which give many details of his dishonesty, 
craft, and low morality. 

So far as the history of Mary Stuart is concerned, 
Berden, as he is henceforth called, enters it in July 1585. 
He was then arrested, doubtless by prearrangement with 

1 Phelippes inquired by letter from Gilbert Gifford (then in Paris), what 
the truth against him really was ; Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 25 ; Boyd, 
viii. 489 ; Gilbert's slippery answer, M.Q.S., xx. 45 ; Boyd, ix. 222, is 
printed below at p. 174, and at least rebuts his own previous story. 

2 I have myself mistakenly identified this Thomas Rogers, alias Berden, 
with Roger Yardley in Catholic Record Society, iv. 54, etc. Both were called 
Roger, or Rogers, and they sometimes lived in much the same circle. 
Roger Yardley, however, remained a good catholic, and was a prisoner 
in the Tower at the time we meet Nicholas Berden as one of Phelippes's 
assistants in 1587-8. 

3 Catholic Record Society, xxi. no. 20. 


Walsingham, and thrown into prison in company with the 
priest and future martyr, Edward Strancham. Then 
having got out of prison (ostensibly through the mediation 
of a protestant relative), he betook himself to Paris, with 
letters, etc., of Strancham in his possession, which he used 
as tokens to Strancham' s friends in Paris, and through 
them he was ere long introduced to Morgan. 

A fair number of his letters to Walsingham at this date 
are extant, and from them we can watch the progress of 
his intrigues. 1 He did not attempt to initiate conspiracies 
of his own. That would in any case have been premature. 
Moreover, he was a mean villain, whose ambitions were of 
a lower order : to steal letters, to betray confidences, to 
inform against priests, and, above all, to become the mes- 
senger between Morgan and Mary's friends in England. 
Time was needed for him to ingratiate himself with the 
leaders of the various factions, but by the end of the year 
he had attained this object ; for on 28 December he 
announces that they (that is, Morgan and Paget) wish 
him to go over and try to open up correspondence with 
Mary. But when he thus seemed to have been on the 
point of complete success, his next letter showed that 
his services were after all not likely to be required ; for 
he sent word that Morgan had received the news that 
Gilbert Gifford, after some adventures, was likely to 
accomplish all that could have been expected from him- 
self. Berden's services therefore were now not likely to 
be wanted in Paris, so he returned to England, where we 
shall soon meet him again. 

(6) The appearance upon the scene of Gilbert Gifford, to 
whose provocation the Babington plot owed its existence, 
marks the opening of a new scene in the tragedy. Gilbert 

1 K.O., Domestic Elizabeth, Additwnal,xxix. nn. 38, 42, 45, 47, 52, 55j 
62, 85 ; in Catholic Record Society, xxi. no. 20. 


was the son of John Gifford, of Chillington, whose family 
was noted for its firm adhesion to the ancient faith. A 
couple of generations later (by which time the family name 
had taken the form Giffard) they won themselves an hon- 
oured place in the history of the country by their heroism 
in helping to save Charles u. after the Battle of Worcester. 1 
Gilbert was a somewhat distant cousin of the George 
Gifford of whom we have spoken above, the Hampshire 
branch having, as it seems, migrated from Staffordshire 
when William de Gifford (d. 1129) became Bishop of 
Winchester. The Doctor William Gifford, whom we shall 
meet with further on, was of this Hampshire branch, and 
brother to George. It will be our misfortune to see little 
else here but the weak side of this William, though in later 
life, when the unfortunate ascendancy which Gilbert won 
over him during their college career had passed away, his 
career became much more honourable. A great preacher, 
a man of learning, a distinguished member of the Bene- 
dictine Order, he rose to be Archbishop of Rheims and 
Primate of France, perhaps the only Englishman who 
ever occupied that post. 

Gilbert Gifford seems to have gone abroad about 1577, 
and after a stay at Paris, to have reached the English 
College at Rome, where he took the college oath on the 
23rd of April 1579, being then nineteen years of age. Six 
months later he was joined by his cousin William, who was 
two years his senior in age, but over whom he soon gained 
an unfortunate predominance. Gilbert had been at college 
during the disturbances which were occasioned by the 
inefficiency ,of the first Rector, Maurice Clenog, an old 
Welsh churchman. But when the Welsh Rector had been 
removed, Gilbert became more unmanageable than ever. 

1 G. Wrottesley, The Giffards, 1902. At pp. 143-159 numerous extracts 
about Gilbert Gifford. 


Before September 1580, it was found necessary to expel 
him, but an allowance was given him for a year and a half 
in order to continue his studies outside the college. His 
cousin William having then completed his college course, 
they both set out northwards. Instead of settling down 
at Rheims, however, there ensued fifteen months of vaga- 
bond life spent in roaming over England and the Continent, 
during which time his friends frankly gave him up for lost. 
At last he turned up in rags at Rheims, crying and showing 
every sign of repentance. Though at first Allen would not 
receive him, he afterwards, with too great facility, which 
one cannot quite excuse, admitted him to the Seminary 
(October 1583), and to the preparation for the priesthood. 
As we have no bad news of him during the next two 
years, we might naturally have supposed that they had 
been well spent. But at the end of that time we find him 
quite calmly occupied on a work of startling wickedness. 
He was hatching a plot against Elizabeth's life in the 
college itself. 

4. Dupes. 

(1) From the Douay Diaries, we learn that one John 
Savage was living at Rheims in 1581, having received Confir- 
mation on Lady Day, and he left on the 1st of December. 
We know nothing of his parentage. The Douay Diary 
happens on two occasions to describe his companions as 
nobiles, i.e. of gentle birth, from which an inference might 
be made that he belonged to the yeoman class. At his 
arrest and trial he was reported as having no goods, except 
a horse, which was given as a reward to the pursuivant 
who captured him. Yet he seems to have consorted on 
equal terms with other gentlemen of birth and property, 
and Gilbert Giff ord J calls him ' one of the best companions, 
and best conditioned, besides a very good scholar and 

1 Morris, Sir Amias Poulet, p. 381 ; Boyd, x. 221. 


practical, and as pliant and pleasant in company as ever 
I knew.' His companion, Charnock, who was with him 
at Barnard's Inn, as well as in the Spanish camp, said, c I 
knew he was an excellent soldier, a man skilful in languages, 
and learned besides. When I met him in England, I was 
glad to renew old acquaintance.' * 

What Savage did when he left the college in December 
1581 does not appear. It was then, very possibly, that 
he enlisted under the Prince of Parma. The Queen's 
Counsel at his trial seemed to believe that he was there 
almost up to the time when the conspiracy was hatched. 
But the Diary informs us that he returned as early as the 
10th of May 1583, and the next thing noted concerning 
him is his departure on the 16th of August 1585. If (as 
is likely) he remained at college all that time, we must 
presume that he was studying for the priesthood, and 
should have to consider him a pretre manque, a somewhat 
unbalanced pietist, rather than a dare-devil soldier ready 
for any violence, as the Crown lawyers tried to represent 
him. However this may be, the sum-total of our informa- 
tion about him produces the impression of an intelligent 
but harmless, simple, cheery fellow, over whom Gilbert 
Gifford had won complete ascendancy and could make 
him call black, white. In his examination of 14 August, 
Savage said, ' He [Gilbert] told me that an English 
Treatise was being made at the Rheims College to be 
sent over hither, inveighing against such as would seek 
her Majesty's death ; but that the same was but a device 
to blind the eyes of the Privy Council to have less fear 
for her Majesty's person.' 2 

Like all English Catholics, Savage no doubt had the 
most profound respect for Allen and the English College. 
But now, on Gilbert's unsupported word, he reverses all 

1 State Trials, p. 132. 2 Boyd, p. 681. 


his previous standards, and takes for pure good what 
Allen's college ' inveighs against ' as evil. He even presses 
this view on others ! 

Let us pause before we pass a severe sentence on this 
simplicity. We shall find high names in plenty as we 
proceed, protestant no less than catholic, of men who 
were inveigled into giving confidence to Gilbert, and 
afterwards regretted what they had done. Savage sinned 
indeed, but amid influential company. 

(2) To return to the college of Rheims in 1585. A 
college friend of both Gilbert and Savage was Christopher 
Hodgson, a priest of the English College, Rome, and now, 
like Gilbert, a reader, or tutor as we might say, in phil- 
osophy at Rheims. Like Gilbert he was also miserably 
factious, and though he did not fall so tow as his com- 
panions, he afterwards became a restless wanderer, a 
sacerdotal failure. 1 

One day, about midsummer, 1585, Hodgson and Savage 
were talking about 4 exploits,' when they were joined by 
Dr. William and also by Gilbert Gifford. The conversa- 
tion turned to the assassination of Elizabeth, and Savage 
believed that he was solicited to kill her. Eventually, 
after thinking the matter over for three weeks, Savage 
agreed and took a vow he would do so, being, it would 
seem, distinctly under the impression that Dr. William 
Gifford considered this as praiseworthy and meritorious. 
I do not myself believe that this was Dr. Gifford' s opinion, 2 
nor in truth do I feel certain even of the leading facts above 
summarised, the evidence for which is liable to very grave 

1 Catholic Record Society, ii. pp. 134, 205, and notes. The last we hear 
of Hodgson in the correspondence of Gilbert Gifford is that he had possessed 
himself of ^2000, belonging to the Earl of Westmorland. R.O., Domestic 
Elizabeth, ccxix. 13. 

2 Charles Paget says that Dr. Gifford eventually wrote to Walsingham 
to protest against Savage's story. 


For not only is there no confirmation at all of the story 
from either of the two Giffords or from Hodgson, but the 
confession of Savage, the only evidence which we have, 
has come to us in an intentionally mangled form. In the 
State Trials l it was manipulated on purpose to produce the 
impression that Dr. Gifford was the only tempter, Gilbert's 
name being omitted entirely. In the Record Office there 
is a less emasculated form of this passage, 2 which shows 
that Gilbert played some part in the seduction of Savage. 
But this Record Office paper is itself only a supplement 
to Savage's original story ; and this, into which it should 
be dovetailed, is missing. If we could get still fuller 
documents, we should probably find that Gilbert acted the 
principal part, and that Dr. William's share in the matter 
was that of giving answers to questions skilfully proposed 
to him by Gilbert ; questions and answers the bearing of 
which the doctor may not have appreciated. Upon a broad 
consideration of the whole story this is the hypothesis 
which I favour, though I do not in any way build upon it. 3 

In the August following Savage left the Seminary ; and 
it is probable that he was dismissed by Allen, because of 
some rumour of the above transactions getting abroad. 
But we only hear this obscurely from Gilbert in a later 
and very suspicious letter. 4 The Diarium of the college 
suggests nothing untoward. Discessit we read, the same 
being used for missionaries and friends. There does not 
seem to have been any external pronouncement. 

Savage then entered at Barnard's Inn, and studied law, 

1 State Trials (1730), ii. p. 121. 

2 Boyd, viii. 611, cf. 681 and ix. 14, from R.O, Mary Queen of Scots 

More about Dr. William Gifford in 1586, in The Month for April 

* t0 be Celled 


remaining about London, still resolved (so his ' confession ' 
states) to strike a blow, if the chance should offer, and still 
of a mind that such a blow would be justifiable. Gilbert, 
meantime, continued his studies for the priesthood, entirely 
unconcerned for Elizabeth's danger, either then, or later, 
when he was in close and constant intercourse with 
Walsingham. Indeed, it was exactly then that he tried 
his best to excite Savage to action ! 

The conclusion must surely be, that danger from Savage 
was at least remote. Gilbert, when present, could talk 
him into any frame of mind that might be desired. When 
the tempter was absent, Savage's natural simplicity pre- 
served him from doing harm. 

To what extent Savage belonged to George Gifford's plot 
cannot yet be definitely proved. But no doubt the pro- 
babilities are very strongly in favour of his having been 
suborned by Gilbert on purpose to help George, and that 
he was directed to him in London. Babington believed 
this, for he used these words, ' those who set Mr. Gifford, 
Savage, and Ballard first in hand,' l as if all three were in 
the same case. Moreover, Babington elsewhere speaks of 
Ballard, Savage, Gifford, having been in the plot before 
his own. 2 Again, in the confession of Savage, according 
to the form read in court, Savage is said to have thought 
that by joining the plot he would please ' all the Giffords.' 3 

If there still remains some obscurity about the relations 
of Savage with George Gifford, this will be due to the 
government having kept the name of the latter out of the 
legal proceedings, as he was now a protestant and in court 

1 Confessions, iii. 5. Babington also speaks of ' the plot of Savage and 
Gifford ' in Boyd, viii. 685, and here Tichborne seems to hold the same 

2 Confessions, i. 2, end. 

3 State Trials, 121 ; Boyd, ix. 14. 


It does not indeed follow that, if Gilbert and George 
worked together in 1585, they also worked together at an 
earlier date. Still we cannot but suspect that so it was. 
The conjecture is evidently suggested that Gilbert was 
acting the part of provocateur all through, in collusion 
with his cousin George. 

It will also be noted hereafter, as an indication of 
Gilbert's habit of mind, that no sooner had he got to 
work in England, than he bethought himself of his Rheims 
achievement, and wanted to bring Dr. William over, in 
order to inveigle him into acting once more the part 
which he had played with Savage. 

Savage having left the college at Rheims in August 1585, 
Gilbert remained on there quietly while his cousin, Dr. 
William, was summoned by Morgan to Paris in September. 
Berden has told us that Morgan's object was to send him 
to England, probably in order that he might act as a sort 
of figure-head for the so-called ' Welsh ' faction. For as 
the persecution had killed off all the leading laymen among 
the catholics, they had come to look for leadership to 
clerics like Allen and Persons, and these were all on the 
so-called ' English ' side. Morgan was therefore endeav- 
ouring to get a clergyman of repute to represent him, and 
we see from his letters and from those of Charles Paget, 
that they endeavoured to push Christopher Bagshaw, 
Alban Dolman, Meredith Hanmer and others, into the fore- 
ground, and next spring they renewed the attempt with 
Dr. Gifford. Yet such was the rashness of Morgan and 
his friends, that all their clerical allies were either betrayed 
by their letters, or fared the worse for their patronage. 

Dr. Gifford, however, refused Morgan's offer, and re- 
turned to Rheims accompanied by Edward Grately, a 
clever young priest and a fellow-student with the Giffords, 
but who, alas ! was, like them, entirely bewitched by 
Morgan's wretched feuds. Grately begged Gilbert, though 


not yet a priest, to come and take the place which Dr. 
William had refused. Gilbert consented, left the college 
on 8 October 1585, and was warmly welcomed by Morgan, 
who wrote a very lengthy letter in his favour to Queen 
Mary. 1 

It is far too long to quote here, but it is worthy of 
remark as showing how little real skill Morgan had in 
correspondence of this kind. It abounds in minute in- 
structions, which were probably impracticable, and in 
unnecessary details, as to which he could form no safe 
judgment under his circumstances, and which would do 
great harm if the letter were intercepted, as in fact it was. 

For us, however, the main thing is that Gilbert was now 
officially connected with Mary's correspondence. Having 
previously known of Savage's resolution against Elizabeth, 
and presumably having even enticed him to that course, 
it will be strange if Gilbert does not manage to link Savage, 
or some kindred spirit, with the correspondence ; and then 
Mary's life, under the Association law, will be forfeit. 



1585-JANUARY 1586. 

1. Gilbert Gifford's First Steps. 

Gilbert Gifford left Rheims on the 8th of October 1585, 
and on the 15th Morgan wrote for him the necessary letters 
of introduction. Yet he was in no hurry to be off from 
Paris, and it seems to have been about the 10th of December 
before he landed at Rye, where he was c apprehended ' and 
sent up to London. Whether this was prearranged or 
not we do not know, but in due course he appeared before 

1 Murdin, State Papers, p. 454. 



Walsingham, and then, at least (whatever may have 
happened before), the compact between them was soon 

What their contract exactly was is, of course, not on 
record. But the numerous letters of Gilbert, both to 
Walsingham and to his servant Phelippes, leave no doubt 
that Gilbert was taken on as a provocateur. Yet one 
caution on this point may be necessary for us. According 
to our ideas, such an agent would presumably be encouraged 
at once to foment plots, and perhaps the more the merrier. 
But that was not in the least Elizabeth's view. Her ideal 
was that every one should be kneeling in obedience before 
her. That any subject should show resentment and much 
more hostility, was a crime of inconceivable gravity. So, 
while she allowed Walsingham to dabble in a little vague 
plot-mongering, if he assured her that this was a necessary 
precaution, and practised by other princes ; yet no general 
permission would be a valid safeguard, if the plotting were 
real and serious, unless her licence had been specifically 
obtained for each case. The example of Parry illustrates 
this ; and when Gilbert eventually sought safety in flight, the 
explanation he gave to Walsingham was You can imagine 
how fearful a thing it was' to deal with such treacherous 
companions without any warrant or discharge ' (p. 120). 

As we proceed, we shall find that even Poulet and Wal- 
singham himself have to get leave c from on high,' when 
a new development in their game has to be begun. It 
was quite unlikely therefore that a mere tool like Gilbert 
should have received a really free licence to conspire. 
His flight, when he saw the crash coming, shows how 
clearly he perceived this ; and the indictment, followed 
by a death sentence on him, which Walsingham at once 
ordered evidently confirms it. 

So Gilbert had to walk warily in his mischief-making. 
Yet being a bom master of the art, he knew how to dare, 


as well as how to "wait. He knew that, if he waited too 
long, his opportunities would pass. So he dared. His 
words about the permit, just quoted, show it, and other 
proofs will appear as we proceed; his interview with 
Mendoza just after the discovery of the plot (p. clxxiii), 
being perhaps the most striking instance of his craft that 
we know. Bearing this in mind, we may be sure that, if 
at first he went quietly, he would miss few if any oppor- 
tunities that presented themselves. 

At a much later period, when Gilbert wanted to throw 
all the blame on Morgan, he alleged that ' he had at once 
informed Morgan ' of Walsingham's readiness to help him 
in his agitation ' against Allen and the Jesuits.' There 
can, however, be no question that what he really said was 
that he had ' easily escaped Walsingham's hands,' and 
that he had already taken steps to pass letters to Mary. 
The first phrase was immediately reported back to Wal- 
singham by Berden in Paris, who must have heard it from 
Morgan ; while Morgan himself soon after wrote to Mary 
to say that he hears that his letters to her have been 'sent 
on.' The date of the dealings with Walsingham was 
probably about December the 20th, for on that day 
Richard Daniel, a searcher at Rye, was paid for bringing 
up a prisoner to Court from thence. Daniel was not un- 
frequently rewarded in those inquisitorial days for the 
same thing, but at dates which do not at all fit in, as this 
does, with other definite landmarks of our story. 1 

1 Berden wrote from Paris on December 18/28 that ' Thomas Fitz- 
herbert did make Gifford acquainted with the French convoy for letters.' 
At the end he adds, ' Here is news of his apprehension on the coast, 
whereof there is great sorrow.' On Jan. 2/12 he writes, ' Here is great 
joy that Gilbert Gifford escaped your Honour's hands so easily' (Addi- 
tional Calendar, pp. 162, 167). Morgan's letter of 18/28 January is in 
Murdin's State Papers, p. 470, Hatfield Calendar, iii. p. 129. 

Daniel was paid by the Treasurer of the Chamber. He had brought 
his prisoner first to Lord Cobham, Warden of the Cinque Ports, then to 
the Court at Greenwich. R.O., Declared Accounts, 542, r. 78. 


It has often been said, and that by writers who profess 
to be favourable to Walsingham, that Queen Mary was 
brought from Tutbury to Chartley at this time on purpose 
that her correspondence might be watched, according to 
the plan afterwards carried out. This may be so, though 
her removal was in appearance due to her own representa- 
tions during the earlier part of the year. Elizabeth pro- 
fessed that in such indifferent things she was 4 very careful 
to yield that lady any reasonable contentment.' Chartley 
had been selected as early as September, and the remove 
would have been made then, but for the protests of the 
Earl of Essex, to whom the house belonged. So other 
plans had to be made tentatively, until the final order to 
move there could be given on the 23rd of November. 
The packing up necessarily took some time, and Queen 
Mary made the journey on Christmas Eve 1585. 1 

Thus there was plenty of time for Gilbert to look about 
him before going down to Chartley, and we should for many 
reasons have expected that the first place at which he 
would present himself would be the French embassy, for 
Berden in his letter of 18/28 December says that Gifford 
was ' made acquainted with the French convoy for letters.' 
This phrase signified that Morgan was secretly allowed to 
send his letters in the ambassador's bag as far as London, 
thereby escaping the danger of their being captured at the 
ports, the place where they were in the greatest danger. 
In London, one of the subordinates in the ambassador's 
house might get into communication with some friend of 
Mary's, and by their means Morgan's letters might eventu- 
ally find their way in. The French ambassador at that 
time was Guillaume de 1'Aubespine, baron de Chateau- 
neuf, who wrote a memoir on the plot. A large part 
of this paper is preserved to us, and it is frequently cited 

1 Morris, Sir Amias Poulet, pp. 94 and 112. 


as an authority of the first importance. It should be 
remembered, however, that it was written a year or more 
after the events described, during which time any one's 
memory for small details is liable to become a little confused; 
moreover, there is an element of self-defence about the com- 
position which may detract a trifle from its value here and 
there. There can, however, be no reason for not accepting 
the following account of Gilbert's advent to London : 

In the month of December 1585, Gifford came to England 
with letters from the Archbishop of Glasgow, Morgan, and 
Paget, which testified to his catholicity and fidelity to the 
Queen of Scotland. The French ambassador had then ap- 
pointed Cordaillot, one of his secretaries, to attend to the affairs 
of that Queen, and he, on seeing Gifford's letters, asked him 
the reason of his journey. Gifford said that he had been 
entrusted with secret letters for the Queen of Scotland, and 
that as she was now confined in a house not far from his father's 
home, he hoped to be able to accomplish the task. Cordaillot, 
nevertheless, answered little, for he knew that Walsingham 
was endeavouring to find out whether he corresponded secretly 
with the Queen. Gilbert urged that having been ten or twelve 
years away from England he would easily pass unknown, and 
would probably not be recognised even by his father and 
sisters. Again, he looked so young, without any beard, that 
his real age, and consequently his identity, would not be sus- 
pected. Still he was not yet trusted, and eventually withdrew. 
It was afterwards discovered that he was lodging with Phelippes, 
a servant of Walsingham. 1 

2. Thomas Phelippes. 

As Gifford had already taken up his abode with Phelippes, 
it may be well to introduce this personage, who from now 
onwards plays such a large part in our story. Thomas 
Phelippes was the son of William Phillips, 2 ' Customer of 

1 A. de Labanoff, Lettres de Marie Stuart, 1844, vi. 281-2: slightly 
abbreviated. Renewed search should be made for the missing portion. 

2 ftbte the difference of spelling in the surname. It was a custom of 
the time for various members of a family to differentiate their signatures 


London,' then, as now, a post of importance, to which 
Thomas afterwards succeeded. In appearance he must 
have been forbidding, and have formed somewhat of a 
contrast to the young and innocent-looking Gifford. 
Queen Mary herself describes Phelippes as ' of low stature, 
slender every way, eated in the face with small pocks, of 
short sight, thirty years of age by appearance.' However 
unprepossessing in appearance, he was a splendid corre- 
spondent, wrote a beautiful hand, and was evidently 
untiring with his pen, as witness the innumerable deciphers, 
copies, and letters, which he wrote off with astonishing 
facility. He must have been well educated, though we 
know not where he was schooled. Latin, French, and 
Italian were so familiar to him that he could read ciphers 
written in those tongues, but in Spanish he was less 
proficient. He shows a fair acquaintance with literary 
allusions and classical quotations. 

This skill he no doubt acquired in great measure by 
travel. I first hear of him in Paris about 1578 where 
Walsingham has lent him to Sir Amias Poulet, then am- 
bassador there, to help in deciphering intercepted letters. 
In 1580 1 find mention of a ' Mr. Philipps, an English papist, 
at Rouen.' If this be our man, he was pretending to be a 
catholic for the time ; and we know that Morgan afterwards 
told Mary he had great hopes of ' recovering ' Phelippes 
to her service, which seems as though he had at least 
dallied with her cause about this time. After this he 
travelled a great deal in France, presumably as an inter- 
mediary between Walsingham and other spies. Sometimes 
the still more delicate task was assigned to him of conveying 
to French Huguenots the money with which Elizabeth 

by adopting various spellings of the family name, so long as its pro- 
nunciation was more or less faithfully observed, and these individual 
e-forms were generally adhered to. But of course all spelling was then 
in a more fluid state that it is now. 


supplied them in their rebellions. Walsingham trusted 
him so much that he sent over to him in France various 
intercepted cipher dispatches, of which no one in England 
could make head or tail. For some little time before our 
story begins he had come home again, and would seem 
to have lived in Leadenhall Market. On 3rd May 1586, 
his income was increased by Elizabeth's order. 1 This 
might look like a retaining fee for the great work of his 
life on which he was so soon to launch. It may be that 
Walsingham' s plans were by then arranged. It would 
seem more probable, however, that Phelippes had fallen 
into debt, as he so often did later on, and that the 
Queen's largesse was a way of salving his credit. 

Be this as it may, Phelippes comes before us as a past- 
master in all branches of letter stealing, and a man with 
a real genius for deciphering. Yet even here exaggerations 
have been made. In point of fact, the deciphering of 
Mary's correspondence was easy work in the present case, 
because at its recommencement all the old ciphers had 
been changed, and a new alphabet sent to each corre- 
spondent. Phelippes took copies of all these keys as they 
passed, and after that his work was relatively simple. 

We have already used, and shall be constantly using 
the evidence of letters, which come to us proximately 
from him. The question is often asked, Can we credit 
his alleged deciphers, as honestly reflecting the originals ? 
He was certainly not invariably honest, and his profession 
was one which exposed him to strong temptations. But 
after carefully going over and re-deciphering many of his 
deciphers, I have come to the conclusion that in all essential 
matters he was faithful to Walsingham, and that wherever 
we find a cipher sent in to his master, with the decipher 
attached, the work may, broadly speaking, be trusted. 

1 Morris, Sir Amias Poulet, p. 115. 


This is already a great deal, and enables us to make use 
with confidence of an enormous number of letters on an 
intelligible principle, which will prepare us to carry our 
criticism further when need arises. 

Such a man was Gilbert's new patron and host, 1 and 
it does not surprise us to learn that as soon as Mary had 
settled down at Chartley, Phelippes betook himself thither, 
doubtless to prepare the ground, and to inform Sir Amias 
Poulet, Mary's keeper, and his old master in Paris, of the 
plans that were being made. Gifford, too, went down, 
and it will be remembered that, whereas he had told 
Secretary Cordaillot 4 that his father and sisters would 
not recognise him,' yet he went down with his father's 
commission to look after some business. At all events 
it is a fair inference that the father knew of his going, 
seeing that he subsequently summoned him back to town. 2 
These little indications show the extreme care taken by 
Walsingham's employes to have an ostensible explanation 
of their movements, which would not betray their real 

3. The Death-trap. 

Phelippes, as we have seen, had already made all the 
necessary arrangements with Poulet. All Mary's house- 
hold, even the laundry-maids, had been carefully cut off 
from intercourse with the outer world, so that it seemed 

1 That Phelippes estimated Gilbert's talents highly is clear from his 
exertions on his behalf and the commendations to Walsingham. See below 
p. 118, and Morris, pp. 156 and 226, where he protects Gilbert against 
Justice Young. 

2 His father, John Gifford of Chillington, Staffordshire, was a staunch 
catholic, condemned as a recusant convict to live in partial confinement in 
London. He was thus unable to watch his son's doings ; on the other 
hand, it was represented to him that an occasional service done to Phelippes 
by Gilbert might lead to a relaxation of his restraint. (Cf. Morris, pp. 153, 
390.) In March he was allowed to visit baths for his health. Acts* of 
Privy Council, xiv. 19. Mary's letter to him,- Boyd, viii. 560. \ 


to be, and really was, absolutely impossible to pass out a 
letter by any of the means which had hitherto proved 
successful. On the other hand, Gifford's method of com- 
munication was to be winked at, and his modus operandi 
will be fully explained later. His plan was put to the proof 
on the long winter's evening of 16 January, and that night 
Mary had the intense delight of receiving the letter from 
Morgan which commended Gilbert. With it there was a 
note from Gifford himself offering to open up a regular 
course of communication with her friends abroad. 

The pleasure which such a missive would have brought 
to Mary was extraordinarily keen. She had always re- 
joiced in receiving letters from home or from those to 
whom she was attached, or about those in whom she was 
interested. This was noted by ambassadors and others 
from her youth upwards. But of late Poulet's inflexible 
severity and ceaseless vigilance had cut off all private 
communication with those abroad, and all she could hear 
came in the open letters sent her by the French ambassador. 
These Poulet read before they were delivered, or did not 
deliver them at all when they seemed to him inconvenient. 1 
On the other hand, he was not sorry to tell her reports 
unfavourable to her own friends, reports which, as he says, 
were as grateful to her ' as salt to her eyes.' For almost 
a year she had been thus deprived of intelligence about 
current events drawn from friendly sources, and this long 
fast had of course greatly enhanced the fascination which 
news from home would always have had on a heart so 
generous and so loyal. Now she suspected no harm. The 
only fear which crossed her mind was lest the brave man 
who (as she imagined) had risked so much to bring her 
news should fall a victim to his daring, as so many others 
had already done. 

1 He sent one back, for instance, 7 July 1586, because to him it seemed 
to reflect on the English in general. Morris, p. 216. 


This was the burden of the answer she wrote to Morgan 
next day, 17 January, ' conforme to the ancient computa- 
tion,' by the same means that she had received the missive. 

After condoling with Morgan on the misfortunes which 
had ' undeservedly, I doubt not,' befallen him, she gave 
orders that he was to receive an increased subsidy from 
her much-reduced income, and sent him two letters to 
forward. She also bade him ' keep himself from meddling 
with anything that might redound to his hurt, or increase 
the suspicion already conceived against you in these parts, 
being sure that you are able to clear yourselfe of all dealing 
for my service hithertill.' This was an allusion to the 
charge of his having plotted treason against Elizabeth 
with Dr. Parry, of which we see that she held him guiltless, 
though he still needed to be cautioned. In conclusion 
she added that while she fully trusted the bearer's honesty, 
she feared he might be discovered, so great was Poulet's 
vigilance. 1 

This letter, having been delivered by the Burton brewer 
to Gifford, would have been brought by him during the 
evening to Poulet. If Phelippes was still at Chartley, it 
would be opened and deciphered at once, and the decipher 
would be sent up to Walsingham. If Phelippes had already 
returned to town, the original packet would be sent up 
by express riders, and the decipherment would be done 
there. Walsingham would then have made up his mind 
about it ; and given the original to Arthur Gregory, 2 his 
special expert for resealing opened packets. Meanwhile 
Gilbert rode up to town at his ease, and found the packet 

1 Labanoff, vi. 204. 

2 Arthur Gregory seems also to have been used to imitate handwritings, 
and to write with invisible inks. (See R.O., Domestic James /., xxiv. 38, 
Domestic Elizabeth, cclx. 49.) He is mentioned in this correspondence by 
the name of 'Arthur.' Morris, p. 278. If Phelippes had already left 
London, as is not impossible (Morris, p. 126), the process of decipherment 
will have been as described below, p. cxlix. 


ready to be conveyed to the French ambassador in London ; 
by him it was forwarded to Paris, and reached Morgan on 
15 March. Two months from Chartley to Paris ! It is 
necessary to note the extreme slowness, even under the 
most favourable circumstances, for the conveyance of 
letters which had to pass secretly. The extra delay caused 
by opening, reading, and reclosing was by comparison 
trifling. This was one of the circumstances which enabled 
Gifford's plan to be worked out without arousing suspicions. 

When Gifford showed Mary's packet at the French 
embassy, he again requested to be entrusted with such 
letters as were waiting to be carried to her. Though this 
was not yet granted, his reception was much more cordial 
than at his first visit. He now received a special letter 
to take back to Mary, which, says Chateauneuf's memoir, 
was still kept purposely vague and unimportant in order 
to test still more thoroughly the reliability of the c convoy.' 

On the 25th of January, Sir Amias writes to Phelippes 
that he is c looking daily to hear from your friend? this 
being the disguise under which Gilbert was always men- 
tioned in the correspondence of Poulet and Walsingham ; 
Phelippes, on the other hand, designating Gilbert as c the 
secret party.' This was another of the many precautions 
used by Walsingham' s orders, in order to keep all as secret 
as possible. 

On the 30th, Mary's keeper writes again to Walsingham, 
' to trouble him with this abstract here enclosed of the 
French ambassador's letters to this Queen, finding nothing 
else in the packet worth advertisement.' The enclosed 
c abstract ' is now missing, but the tone of the above 
extract shows that the letters were unimportant. If the 
French ambassador's letter was the same as that carried 
by Gilbert, Poulet' s note will confirm Chateauneuf's 
memoir. But the ambassador's letter may only be the 
ordinary open letter sent by post. The letter carried by 


Gifford must have been passed in to Mary about the 
28th or 29th, for on the 31st her answer was written and 
passed out again. Mary was now quite convinced of the 
safety and practicability of the channel of communication, 
and, so far as she was concerned, Gifford' s plans were 
already successful. 

But just at this moment a cloud passed over the re- 
lationships of Sir Amias and ' your friend.' Instead of 
bringing the letters back to Chartley after dusk, 1 Gifford 
sent a note to the Knight, asking him to appoint a trusty 
messenger to whom he might deliver them. The sus- 
picious Puritan at once took alarm. He answered that 
he 4 had learned not to trust two, where it sufficed to trust 
one.' So Gifford came ' late in the night, the 5th of this 
present ' February, and handed him all that he had re- 
ceived. Yet he did not altogether satisfy Mary's keeper. 
He let out that he knew that the letter to the French 
ambassador had a cipher in it, which showed that he had 
been prying to some purpose. Moreover, he 4 doubled in 
his speech once or twice.' In short, the rigid but sharp 
Sir Amias felt that he was dealing with a trickster, in whom 
he felt no confidence. Still, he did not like to press hardly 
on Walsingham's ' friend,' so he contented himself with 
warning his chief. His diffidence melted away but slowly, 
as the correspondence proceeded so successfully from his 
point of view. 

Mary's letter, as we have said, contained her full assent 
to the continuation of the correspondence. This assent 
was conveyed in the following words, which need a slight 
explanation : c Send me by this bearer all the packets, 
which you and Cherelles have in hand for me, but enclose 
them in a small box or bag of strong leather.' The clause 

1 The secret letters seem always to have come in before dawn or after 


about giving Gifford all the packets is clear enough. It 
is what he had been aiming at from the beginning, and 
enabled him now to pick and choose what he liked or 
thought most convenient for his purpose, or as Phelippes 
might instruct. We even find him using this order, as a 
warrant for opening thick packets and making them lighter, 
and, vice versa., for putting more into thin packets. The 
object of this move was, of course, to have a free hand in 
breaking seals without going to the trouble of closing them, 
and pretending that they had not been opened. 

Even more significant was the little phrase about the 
box, or leather bag. It may be remembered that Sir Amias 
had managed so well at Chartley, that the imprisoned 
Queen had practically no chance of sending out letters even 
by the laundry-maids. 1 Yet there was still one, and only 
one, uncontrolled outlet. 

The brewery was small, and it was necessary to employ 
a brewer who lived at Burton, and brought in his beer in 
barrels, which he fetched away again when empty. Sir 
Amias' s guards watched the casks closely, both going and 
coming, but never thought of looking inside them. Gilbert 
or Phelippes had the idea of bringing the letters within 
the barrels ; fitting them, it would seem, into a corked 
tube which would slip through the bung-hole. 2 

In the curious cant adopted by Poulet, this brewer is 
called ' the honest man,' his dishonesty to both sides being 
such that it is positively amusing, and gives a slight inter- 
lude of comedy in a tragedy otherwise sufficiently sad and 
sordid. ' The honest man ' (we do not know his real name) 
had previously supplied Tutbury with beer, so that he was 

x , ' I cannot imagine how it may be possible for them to convey a piece 
of paper as big as my finger.' (Poulet to Walsingham, Morris, p. 126.) 

2 This is Chateauneuf 's contemporary account, Labanoff, vi. 284. But 
Camden (1607) writes as though the letters were left behind a brick in 
the wall. Annales (ed. 1625), p. 438. English Translation, p. 305. 


well known to both sides from the beginning. He was at 
first, in appearance, secured by Gifford by a handsome 
bribe to be paid by Mary, and he afterwards demanded 
and received quite considerable sums at her hands, for the 
risks he was supposed to be running for her. Having 
received the letters, he first showed them to Poulet (for 
which he was also well rewarded), who, after a compar- 
atively short examination, sent them back again to the 
brewer at his house in Burton. After this he was visited 
by Gifford, or Gifford's 4 substitute,' 1 whom he imagined 
to be a genuine servant of Mary, and to them he delivered his 
packets. Thus he was led to believe that he was the only 
traitor, that his treason to Mary was not, after all, so very 
serious, for Poulet did not keep the packets long. When 
once he had given them to Gifford they were, he thought, 
in the hands of Mary's servants, and no more harm (from 
Mary's point of view) would come to them. 

We know that Poulet' s real object in inspecting the 
packet at once was to keep a check on c the honest man.' 
If the same letters did not come back to him through 
Gifford again, it would be evident that ' the honest man ' 
was forwarding them by another channel ; whereas if they 
did come back through Gifford in right order, there was 
little doubt that he was playing 4 honestly ' his part of the 
double game. Poulet was constantly on tenter-hooks, 
when any delay occurred, lest ' the honest man ' should 
play ' the very knave.' But in the end the regular receipt 
of all the correspondence in the order agreed upon calmed 
Sir Amias's anxieties on this head. 

' The Substitute.' His name does not transpire in any of the plot 
papers. Phelippes says, 10 March 1586, ' Choice is made of a substitute of 
honest credit, good wealth, good understanding, and servant to the Earl 
of Leicester.' Morris, p. 154. Eighteen months later (7 September 1587) 
Phelippes wrote to Gilbert that, ' Sir Amias with Hoby protest they took 
the letter from an honest man.' Domestic Elizabeth, cciii. 36. This sounds 
as if Hoby was the intermediary between Sir Amias and the honest man. 


Yet there was another source of annoyance, which, 
though petty in itself, was galling to Poulet, whom Eliza- 
beth had bound to the greatest economy. The c honest 
man,' finding that his services were wellnigh indispensable 
to both sides, began to assume grotesque airs of superiority, 
and settle the times for meetings to fit in with his 
arrangements, making others hurry or wait simply to suit 
his real or even perhaps pretended convenience. Finally 
and hardest of all, as Mr. Froude well puts it, ' like a true 
English scoundrel, he used the possession of a State secret 
to exact a higher price for his beer,' 1 and this in peremptory 
tones, to which the hard-hearted Puritan was forced, 
however reluctantly, to agree. 

But in spite of these drawbacks ' the honest man,' as 
has been said, did his part of the knavery without really 
failing. He gave the packets to Gifford, who reconveyed 
them secretly to Poulet, and they were either read then 
and there, if Phelippes was on the spot ; or if he was not 
there, they were sent up to London by express riders, and 
were deciphered there by Phelippes. Meanwhile Gifford 
was riding leisurely to town, where he found the packet 
resealed and ready for him to carry to the French ambas- 
sador, who in due time conveyed it abroad to Morgan, 
to whom it was always addressed. 

The letters to Mary came in exactly the reverse order. 
Morgan sent them to Chateauneuf, whose secretary gave 
them to Gifford. Gifford took them to Phelippes, and 
while the latter was deciphering them in London and 
making the packet up again, the former rode quietly and 
leisurely on. An express conveyed the re-made-up packet 
to Poulet, who gave it to Gifford, who gave it to the 
4 honest man.' The ' honest man ' showed it once more 
to Poulet, and, when Poulet had returned it to him again, 

Quoted by Morris, p. 191 ; see also pp. 192, 195, 196, 210, 211. 


he put it into the corked tube, and slipped this through the 
bung-hole of the beer barrel, which he delivered at Mary's 
side of the house. There the tube was taken out and carried 
into Mary's little chancery. Then the covering letter from 
Gilbert Gifford, or Barnes, was at once opened and read, 
and a few lines of answer were sent out, while the brewer 
rested his horses after their long journey, some eighteen 
miles, from Burton. The covering letters which survive 
show vividly the working of the secret post. (Below, pp. 

No sooner was the new post going regularly, and in 
appearance safely, than Elizabeth made a mysterious 
speech to the French ambassador (April 1586). 

' Monsieur Ambassador,' she said, ' you have much secret 
intelligence with the Queen of Scotland. But, believe me, / 
know everything that is done in my kingdom. Besides, since I 
was a prisoner in the time of the Queen my sister, I know what 
artifices prisoners use to gain over servants, and to have secret 

Chateauneuf was full of suspicion at this ; but could 
not believe that Elizabeth was for once talking truth. It 
was a pity he did not tell Mary. 1 


In the correspondence which will follow, it is necessary to 
take account of the different styles of reckoning time. Since 
January 1584 France had adopted the more correct calendar 
introduced by Pope Gregory xm. (hence called ' Gregorian 
Calendar '), while England still kept to the older reckoning 
which was ten days behind the other (hence called ' Old Style '). 
Russia still follows Old Style, which is now thirteen days 
behind New Style, which we in England have meanwhile 
adopted. Hence the date, Petrograd, 10/23 January 1920, 
means the day called 10 January in Russia, 23 January in 
London. Similarly Paris, 1/11 January 1585, means the day 

1 Labanoff, vi. 291. 


of 1585 called 1 January by English time and style, 11 January 
by French time and style. 

This then is the rule for reading a date expressed like a 
fraction. The upper figure means English time, the lower 
continental time. 

Notice that the double figure does not express any doubt 
between two times. If there was a doubt, one might write, 
? 1-11 January 1585. But the fractional form refers to one 
and the same day, differently numbered in different styles. 

When the whole passage refers to England only, or to the 
Continent only., then if only one number is used, it will obviously 
mean the local time in the place under discussion. 

In the case of letters written to and from Chartley, it is 
generally necessary to notice both styles. The English date 
was used there for all domestic purposes, for instance in the 
Journal of Bourgoing. But the letters from France, which 
comprised so large a part of Mary's correspondence, having been 
written in New Style, were also answered by her in New Style. 
Moreover Phelippes, in the notes that came with the secret 
correspondence, arranged to use it in his covering note of 6/16 
June, R.O., M.Q.S., xviii. 6 ; Boyd, viii. 440 ; and below, p. 10. 
What his reason was we do not know. Perhaps, from having 
deciphered some of her letters to Paris, he knew she sometimes 
used that style ; perhaps he craftily thought that its assumption 
would help to create the impression that he was a catholic, and 
so contribute in its way to her undoing. 


JOHN BALLARD, 1584-1586. 

The snare which was to cost Mary her life having been 
set, the next move would be to invite conspirators to make 
use of its apparent advantages. It will not be hard to see 
that the first steps in this treacherous proceeding would 
have been taken in deep secrecy, and that little or no record 
of them should survive. In the later stages of the plot, 
when the die was cast, and the conspirators on both sides 



had grown accustomed to their parts, a good many letters 
were written which have been preserved ; and we shall 
then be able to follow the story in the very words of the 
principal agents. 

To be frank, we do not know precisely when the plot did 
begin. We know that in the months of January, February, 
March 1586, the various conspirators and provocateurs 
approached each other, and that intrigues began, which, 
with certain modifications, afterwards developed into the 
plot. But the circumstances of the first meetings never 
transpired, and our attention must in this chapter be 
concentrated on the movements of the suspects ; for if we 
follow them closely, we shall pick up clues, that will leave 
little doubt as to the objects they have in mind. 

First then as to Gilbert Gifford, we find from Barnes's 
confession l that these two were lodging together about 
the beginning of March, and that Gilbert then had a cipher 
to correspond with Savage ; and from this we infer 
that he did not relax his hold on his college friend. Of 
George Gifford himself we hear nothing, but from the 
confessions of the Babington conspirators, we know that 
Savage's conspiracy (i.e. the later phase of George Gifford's 
plot) was strengthened about this time by the accession of 
Thomas Salisbury, and also of Ballard, and as the latter 
becomes from that time onwards its most active member, 
it will be well to go back, and to put together such informa- 
tion as we possess about his previous career. 

1. The Previous History of Ballard and Tyrrell. 
John Ballard, according to the Douay Diaries, was born 
in the diocese of Ely. He was educated at Cambridge, 
where he had, on 14 June 1574, taken the degree of 

1 Below, p. 3. 


Master of Arts. 1 He arrived at Rheims on 29 November 
1579, 2 and was eventually ordained priest at Chalons 
4 March 1581, and returned to England on the 29th of the 
same month. Savage, it may be noted, had arrived before 
Ballard had left ; but Gilbert Gifford was then studying 
in Rome, so that they could not have met at this period. 

Of Ballard' s work in England during this first nine 
months, no details seem to be known. At the end of this 
time he was a prisoner in the Gatehouse at Westminster, 
and amongst other priests, who were his companions there, 
he met for the first time Anthony Tyrrell, with whom he was 
destined to be in closer connection during the next few 
years than was at all usual, considering the circumstances 
under which priests in England had to live at that time. 
To begin with, they were fortunate enough to break prison 
together and to get clear away, just before the end of the 
year 1581. They separated, but met again not long 
after in Norfolk, Ballard then going under the name of 
Turner. After this for more than two years they saw 
nothing of each other, Tyrrell probably keeping near 
London, Ballard going farther west. 

Early in the summer of 1584 they met again in London. 
They were both feeling in want of a holiday, and had 
raised 100 and 60 respectively for that purpose. Bal- 
lard had the larger sum for a journey to Rome, and it was 
provided by friends, on whose behalf he was to have obtained 
certain dispensations and faculties. Tyrrell had originally 
only meant to go beyond seas and live quietly ; in order to 

1 B.M., Cole MSS., Add. 5885, p. 28. John Venn, Sc.D., and J. A. 
Venn, M.A., Matriculations and Degrees in the University of Cambridge, 
1544 to 1659, 1913, p. 35, give his career as follows (contractions expanded) : 
' St. Catharine's, sizar, Michaelmas term, 1569 ; migrated to Caius College, 
Lent term, 1569-70 ; A.B. King's College, 1574-5.' 

2 29 Novembris 1579, Hue venerunt . . . duo Cantabrigienses, Englishus 
et Ballardus : hie artium magister est, etc. T. F. Knox, Douay Diaries, 
1878, p. 158, cf. 173-8. 


continue his theological studies, which had been, as Father 
Morris says, ' dangerously short,' having lasted only two 
years. Embarking from near ' Southampton House,' they 
were carried over by one Bray in company with six others, 
their fares being five shillings a head. 

For the episode which will now follow we have a minute 
account by Anthony Tyrrell. But his story, though so 
often taken as good evidence, loses most of its power to 
convince, when we consider the singular circumstances of 
its composition, of which a short account must be 

On the 4th of July 1586, Tyrrell was arrested for the 
third time and sent to prison for his faith. He wrote 
begging Lord Burghley for mercy in somewhat ample 
terms, but nothing in particular occurred until after the 
arrest of Ballard (4 August), which terrified Tyrrell lest 
he should be involved in the mad schemes of his former 
friend. Hereupon he lapsed into a sort of delirium that 
he must betray everything. Hysterical symptoms had 
not been wanting before. He had lately assisted at the 
so-called ' exorcisms ' of certain neurotic young people, 
and had written an exaggerated account of the phenomena 
in The Book of Miracles, 1 which proves that he was already 

1 This MS. is lost ; but Samuel Harsnett, Egregious Popish Impostures, 
1603, quotes TyrrelTs own statement about it, p. 254. The episode of 
exorcisms, though it lies outside the Babington plot, is so near akin to 
it that further references to the topic must be added here. At the 
reformation epidemics for witch-hunting, devil-finding, exorcisms, and the 
like became prevalent from time to time both among protestants and 
among catholics. In 1585-6 it spread to the English catholics, reach- 
ing its maximum in Lent 1586, when perhaps a score of priests practised 
exorcisms, and some hundreds of converts were made. The apostle of 
the movement was Father Weston, S.J., and its lay patron was Edmund, 
son of Sir George Peckham, whose large mansion, Denham Hall, Bucks., 
provided a refuge for the exorcists. The ground of the movement appears 
to have been hysteria to some extent, and otherwise nothing else but the 
childish simplicity of the age. Before Easter 1586, common sense began 
to declare against the exorcisms, which were often a little cruel, as well as 


then in an over-wrought, untrustworthy mood. After the 
27th of August, however, he completely surrendered to 
Lord Burghley and Justice Young. He accused Ballard 
and any catholic of every charge of which he thought the 
inquisitors wanted to find them guilty ; and he carried out 
any sacrilege, villainy, or betrayal they suggested. He 
bore false, but fatal, evidence against three or four priests, 
who suffered martyrdom ; and, at the instigation of Lord 
Burghley and Justice Young, he had also said mass and 
heard confessions in order to maintain his reputation 
(Fall i.). 

Early in 1587 a good old priest, William Barlow, had the 
courage to speak to him frankly and lovingly, at which 
the poor wretch's heart was changed and he promised 
entire conversion. But he had not the courage to fly his 
surroundings, and he soon relapsed into all his old mal- 
practices, and offered to become a protestant preacher 
(Fall ii.). For this purpose he was freed, 2 March 1587, 
when his catholic friends again prevailed on him to return 
to the fold, and they collected 40 or 50 to get him abroad. 
He went, but did not persevere long. By Midsummer 
1587, he was back again, and had placed himself in the 
hands of the government (Fall iii.). It was during that 
last short lucid interval that he wrote a full account of his 
previous falls in which he embodied many useful documents. 
This was eventually published in our own day. 1 His own 

very dangerous because of the persecution. One of the last exorcisms is 
fully described in Boyd, viii. 698-701, ix. n. 

Edmund Peckham fell ill and died in July, and the movement was 
buried in his grave. Denham was searched by pursuivants and after- 
wards sold. Father Weston and other exorcists were imprisoned ; several 
were martyred. For reference and extracts see my Supposed Cases of 
Diabolical Possession in 1585-6, in The Month, May 1911 ; also T. G. Law, 
in XlXth Century, March 1894, and his more critical article on Tyrrell, in 

1 The Fall of Anthony Tyrrell, prepared for publication by Father 
Persons, published by John Morris, S.J., in the Troubles of our Catholic 
Forefathers, ii. 1875 


subsequent changes of creed made it inopportune for 
catholics of those times to do so. 

Having now fallen thrice, his imprisonment was rather 
devised to obstruct the influence of his catholic friends, 
than thought necessary to prevent his escape. Indeed, 
there was talk of a comfortable living, on condition of his 
publicly revoking what he had lately written. He agreed 
to the terms, and the date for the recantation sermon 
was fixed for 21 January 1588, the third Sunday after 

But as that day drew near, Tyrrell' s mind began to 
change once more, and while he was thought to be writing 
a recantation sermon, he was really writing several fresh 
declarations of his own infamy in having betrayed innocent 
blood. These he kept secret, clearly foreseeing how the 
matter was likely to fall out. 

When the day arrived ' there wanted not concourse of 
people from all parts, and of all sorts, and many of the 
Council and nobility were also present, to hear so rare a 
comedy. And first of all a preacher of their own was 
set up to make the prologue, which was very long, con- 
taining an earnest exhortation to be attentive to what 
the other would say, and to believe him. Immediately 
after him Anthony Tyrrell was brought up with much 
honour to the pulpit, and then, after that he had com- 
mended himself upon his knees to God, he began his speech.' 

After three minutes, as might be imagined, there was 
a mighty uproar, and a rush to tear down the preacher 
who was ' uttering the plain contrary of that which they 
expected.' Yet before he was dislodged he had, with a 
sweep of the hand, thrown out among the crowd those 
copies of his speech which he had made before in writing, 
and though instant proclamation was made for them to 
be brought in and burnt, one copy fell into catholic hands, 
and has been preserved. 


' Tyrrell was carried away on men's shoulders to the 
gaol of Newgate and then to the Counter, the Protestants 
crying vengeance upon him, and he weeping bitterly, 
knocking his breast, and affirming that he had done nothing 
that day but upon mere force and compulsion of his con- 
science.' In the Counter he was comforted for three 
months by a Scotch catholic, Alexander Hamilton, who 
managed to speak to him through a chink in the wall, 
but after this neighbour had gone, his resolution again 
failed. Again he promised to preach a recantation sermon, 
and this time, on the feast of the Immaculate Con- 
ception, 8 December 1588, he actually did so, and 
received as his reward, two small livings and a wife 
(Fall iv.). 

But not even this kept him quiescent. At the end 
of 1593 he was found to have been abroad, and it was 
rumoured that he had changed his faith once more. An 
enquiry was ordered, but evaded. It seems that some 
negotiation had been going on with a sister, who was a 
Bridgettine nun of Sion. They had lately been migrating 
from Rouen, and Anthony declared that he wanted to 
bring her home. But there were other very ugly features 
about this escapade. Tyrrell had to confess that, while 
staying in London, he had been leading a very immoral 
life. The end of this adventure is not known in 

On 15 June 1602, he repeated before Bancroft the 
statement that the exorcisms had been dishonest, and 
after that he fades from sight, though more than one 
contemporary assures us that, Mortuus est poenitens. 1 

1 Besides Morris quoted above, and the biography of Tyrrell in 
D.N.B., his Confessions at R.O. have lately appeared in Boyd, and his 
Recantation, of January 1588, is printed in Bridgewater's Concertatio 
Ecclesiae Anglicanae. 


2. What is the Value of Tyrrell s Evidence. 

After reading this extraordinary record of mutability 
in matters where men are generally more firm, the question 
will arise, What of his evidence concerning the plot ? 
Tyrrell had no real connection with it. He had been 
imprisoned before Babington communicated with Mary. 
He is not named by any of the genuine conspirators (except 
to reject some stray statement quoted to them from his 
confessions), nor does he mention (either truly or falsely) 
any detail of the genuine conspiracy. But he had long 
been intimate with Ballard, and that agitator had asked 
him c to persuade all the friends he could to be ready ' x 
for an invasion ; and he had perhaps complied to some 
extent. In abject terror lest he should suffer for this, 
he had sought to propitiate Lord Burghley by turning 
Queen's evidence, and saying everything he possibly could 
against his former friend. Mr. Froude and his followers 
accept these accusations in full, discarding his subsequent 
recantations with the sneer that they were written when 
Tyrrell had ' fallen into the hands of the priests.' 2 As if 
the testimony given out of fear of death, or torture, or for 
the receipt of money or other advantages were of more 
value than that offered in 'spite of personal inconvenience 
or danger, and without hope of reward ! 

But the real difficulty lies deeper. We are here dealing 
with a man who was suffering from hysteria or intense 
nervous strain. When terrified, he became quite un- 
reliable, and fell at once, like a bird before a snake ; he 
was no longer responsible for his words. This must 
influence the credence we give to him. 

Yet he was not always under the spell of fear, and we 

1 Boyd, p. 655. 

2 History (1870}, xi. p. 45, n . 


need not reject everything that he says. He will be rational 
enough when not afraid. We can also assist ourselves 
by comparing his charges and his recantations, though 
we must remember that the latter also may be subject to 
some exaggeration. 

Though Tyrrell' s libels are sometimes gross, as those 
against the Pope, Dr. Allen, and the Earl of Arundel 
(evidently because they occupied high positions), his more 
usual fault is that of adopting a bitter, exaggerated, or 
melodramatic tone, while recounting the experiences of a 
catholic missionary of those days. Even when he is not 
lying, he is a bad witness, making minor misrepresentations 
in order to cu*ry favour with his protestant masters. 1 

With these cautions for and against Tyrrell' s evidence, 
we may now go over his story. 

3. A Pilgrimage to Rome, March 1584 to January 1585. 

Tyrrell' s story 2 then informs us that Foscue, as he 
always calls Ballard, with the rest of their party landed at 
Dives, Normandy, and went on to Rouen, where Tyrrell 
had a sister, Gertrude, a Bridgettine nun. Thence to Eu, 
and they meant to have spent some time in the neighbour- 
hood, when they were summoned by Dr. Allen to the 
Seminary of Rheims, where they arrived during the Easter 
holidays. In his Confessions he says that they here heard 
many heinous treasons against the Queen, of which he gives 

1 Examples of this may be found by comparing his account of Mr. Bold 
(Boyd, p. 653) with Bold's own account (Ibid., pp. 697, 698). See also 
below, Babington, Examinations, viii. 12 to 16, and the parallel passages 
there noted. Also Catholic Record Society, v. 107, some tests for his 
account of the martyr priest, Thomas Alii eld. The retraction of nine 
charges against the Earl and Countess of Arundel in Hatfield Calendar, iii. 


2 This he told several times : in his Confessions of 30 and 31 August 
(Boyd, pp. 641, 643), also in a memoir, printed in the Fall of A. Tyrell, 
in Morris, Troubles, ii. 325, etc. 


details, incriminating both Allen and William Gifford. 
But in his retractions he specifically withdraws this, 
1 whereof, God forgive me, no one word was true.' Allen 
and the Seminarists looked rather askance at them, as 
though they were shirking the dangers of England, 1 but 
Allen, on their explaining their intention to study, approved 
and sent them to the Jesuit College at Pont-a-Mousson, 
where they would find the facilities which they came to 
seek. Here they stayed till the end of July, and then 
started for Milan on their way to Rome. 

It was while they were at Pont-a-Mousson that the 
Prince of Orange was assassinated, 10 July 1584, and the 
debates which then followed doubtless had their influence 
on some of the incidents of which we shall now hear. 

At Milan they found that St. Charles Borromeo was 
absent, but Dr. Owen Lewis, the Cardinal's Vicar-General, 
received them hospitably. It was in his interviews with 
the Welsh churchman that Foscue at length began ' to 
speak plain English.' c We shall never be able to plant 
religion soundly,' he said, ' unless the Queen be made 
away.' 4 You speak like a Phineas,' was Dr. Lewis's 
answer, ' sed caute loquendum.' After this Foscue would 
occasionally mention the subject of killing the Queen to 
Tyrrell, who strongly opposed any violence to ' God's holy 
anointed.' Foscue's answer was, ' I am resolved to be 
satisfied fully in Rome.' ' All which,' said Tyrrell after- 
wards in his retraction, c from the beginning to the last 
period, I protest before God, to have been most untrue, 
and a mere invention of my own pernicious brain, to get 
credit with my Lord Treasurer.' 

Having arrived in Rome 4 at the latter end of August,' 

1 This is not reflected in Barret's letter to Agazario at Rome, from 
Rheims, 6 April 1584, ' Tyrrell and two others have come here as a rest 
from England.' Stony hurst, Anglia, i. 18. 


they went to the English Hospice and stayed there till the 
beginning of October. 1 

Tyrrell, as the climax of his story approaches, becomes 
more and more artificial in his style. They get into 
conversation first with the Rector, then with the General 
of the Jesuits, then with Pope Gregory himself about the 
assassination of the Queen ; and their approbations of 
her murder are given with an increasing clearness and 
force, and a rising scale of applause and of promised 
reward. Father Agazario the Rector listens with pleasure, 
will not give an answer himself, but offers to procure one 
shortly. In a day or two the General of the Jesuits 
appears ; he hums and haws, says it is a matter only to 
be discussed by men of tried security, but eventually 
gives leave for Father Agazario to take them to the Pope, 
and obtain an authoritative solution. So they go to the 
Pope, the Jesuit explains their doubts, and then the Pope 
delivers a handsome and well-turned approbation of the 
murder of the Queen. ' Children, beloved in Our Lord, 
we have always loved you in the bowels of Christ. . . . 
For your various requests, we will consult and you shall 
have answer, but as touching the taking away of that 
impious Jezabel, I would be loth you should attempt 
anything unto your own destruction, and we know not 
how our censure in that point would be taken among her 
subjects, who profess themselves our subjects. But if 
you can wisely give such counsel, as may be without 
scandal to the party or to us, know ye that we do not 
only approve of the act, but think the doer, if he suffer 
death simply for it, to be worthy of canonisation. And 
so with our Apostolic Benediction we dismiss you.' When 

1 The dates are given almost exactly. The Pilgrim Book, still pre- 
served at the English College, Rome, bears witness that they arrived on 
7 September (which would be 29 August, Old Style) and left on 2 October 
(New Style). Foley, Records S.J., vi. 555. 


they got home the Jesuits insisted that the Pope's words 
should be kept very secret, and if necessary even forsworn. 
Tyrrell concludes by saying that the Pope's words were the 
first thing which unsettled his adherence to Catholicism. 
Nevertheless, he adds, ' Notwithstanding the Pope his 
censure, and Dr. Lewis his persuasion, I imagined for all 
that, that Foscue's words had been but speeches of vanout 
(vanity), knowing the man vainglorious, and desirous of 
his own praise, and to be. meddling in things above his 
own reach.' If he had not put in this he would have been 
guilty of 4 concealing ' high treason. 

Coming back to Rheims they told all to Allen, who 
' bit his lip at the Pope his resolution, but affirmed, not- 
withstanding that the deed was in itself good, but must 
never be preached, taught or persuaded. When I am 
asked, I have always answered with a non-licet and so I 
exhort you to do.' 

In his retraction he calls the whole of this Roman 
episode ' a long and monstrous tale, and most untrue. 
Neither was there ever any such speech or negociations 
with the persons in any of the places named, neither 
would we ever have durst to have proposed any such thing 
unto them, if Ballard or I had been so wicked to conceive 
it, as I thank God we never were.' 1 

A further circumstance about Tyrrell at this time is 
now known to us, which shows how far from truthful his 
words were, ' Since I heard the Pope's censure pronounced, 
I began to settle my mind to try out some better religion.' 2 
Far from meditating on a secession to protestantism, he 
was in reality asking to be received into the Society of 
Jesus. ' But as there are difficulties,' wrote Father General 
Aquaviva, after he had gone, to Father Persons, then in 
France, c which are known to your Reverence. Our answer 

Morris, Troubles, ii. 370. 2 Boyd, p. 648. 


was that we would commend this thing to you. So, if you 
think him fit, you may in our name receive him ; otherwise 
you should console him as well as you can, and advise him 
to adapt himself to the Divine will.' l We do not know 
what the obstacle to his reception was ; but Father Persons 
seems to have considered it a sufficient one ; at all events 
there is no more talk of his joining the Jesuits. Tyrrell 
says that Ballard made friends with Christopher Bagshaw, 
the future Appellant, who became his guide to Rome. 

When they left Rheims, Tyrrell went to Rouen, while 
Ballard proceeded to Paris, where he became acquainted 
with Morgan, Charles Paget, and others of his faction. 
Eventually they started from Rouen on Christmas Eve 
(New Style) 1584, and c after a little expecting were landed 
by Southampton upon St. Stephen's day, as it fell out 
in England ' (26 December /5 January) and gradually 
travelled from one friend to another till they got to Suffolk, 
and parted at Mr. Nicholas Tymperley's. Tyrrell returned 
to London, and Ballard joined him there ; and thence- 
forward they lodged together as a rule, but they often 
changed their residences, as priests were then obliged to 
do. In 1585 they made three long rounds among catholics, 
whose names and houses he now betrays. The most im- 
portant was the second circuit in which, after they had 
travelled to Leicestershire, Ballard ' slippeth into York- 
shire, where he repaired unto Typpings,' and thence visited 
the Borders. In a third journey they again rode as far as 
Typpings, and towards the end of the year apparently 
' Foscue became acquainted with Babington, C. Tylney, 
" Jacques " (Jacomo Francisci) Sir Christopher Hatton's 
man, and divers others.' 

This brings Tyrrell' s accusations of Ballard down to 
March 1586, the time of the latter' s departure for France, 

1 Epistolcs Gallics, f. 60 v. 22 October 1584. 


and the limit of the present section. His pages are now 
principally filled with accusations of the catholic gentlemen 
who had known or helped him during his ministry, and 
whom Burghley of course wished above all things to plunder 
and ruin. 

4. Ballard's Character. 

Tyrrell' s most valuable pages are probably those which 
describe Ballard's peculiar character. Even to Burghley 
he portrays him, not as a murderer, but only as ' a man 
vainglorious and desirous of his own praise, and to be 
meddling in things above his reach.' His descriptions of 
the feasting in company with young soldiers and gentle- 
men of means have character strokes. c We had . . . such 
suppers, dinners, banquets as it cost myself in one year 
100 li. and where I spent one pennie, Foscue spent three.' 
4 Ballard's acquaintance increased daily, and out went we in 
countenance and credit.' . . . 4 About Bartholomew-tide, 
we met together in London, when Foscue had his attend- 
ants as thick as might be, every gentleman calling him 
Captain : insomuch that in every tavern and inn in London 
he was called Captain Foscue ; and every man thought, 
that knew him, that he with a great band should have gone 
over with my Lord of Leicester.' . . . ' He was always so 
bold with gentlemen, that apparel should cost him nothing.' 

Here we probably have a true, if somewhat spiteful, 
description of those weaknesses and minor faults, which 
were eventually to lead Ballard to ruin. 

Ballard was far from being a man of bad life. Babington 
at first described him to Queen Mary in high-flown terms 
as ' a man of virtue and learning and of singular zeal to the 
catholic cause and your Majesty's service.' Making fair 
allowance for Babington' s youthful enthusiasm and desire 
to make a good impression on the Queen, 1 we may 

1 Babington's Confessions, viii. i. 


accept the statement as true, noting that no mention is 
made of the man's prudence. In ordinary circumstances 
an ecclesiastical superior would probably have been well 
able to keep him to the business of his profession, in which 
his zeal and his popular manners would no doubt have led 
to considerable success. But persecution had made it 
impossible for an ecclesiastical superior to live in England ; 
and Morgan was keeping up a feud with Allen, which was 
extremely prejudicial to church discipline. The con- 
sequence was that Ballard, coming under Morgan's influ- 
ence, 1 gradually became obsessed with the idea that he was 
a statesman with a special mission to fulfil. 

Like so many priestly politicians, he was deficient in 
practical common sense, and the victim of theorists and 
of extremists. In the impressionable years that followed 
his conversion, he had been in France and Flanders while 
civil wars of religion were raging, and all sorts of extreme 
theories were being propounded. It is to be feared that 
the formalism or laxity of such catholic churchmen as 
tolerated the ban and the assassination of the Prince of 
Orange, further contributed to the weakening of those 
moral restraints, which needed as much strengthening as 
possible in England, in the midst of all the irritation to be 
borne there. 

Another matter, which will require watching, is Ballard' s 
accuracy and reliability in reporting on a political situation. 
It will appear as we proceed that, partly through sanguine 
temperament, partly through inability to take the measure 
of the weakness of Spain and of the other friends of Mary 
Stuart, he habitually gives to all he approaches an ex- 
aggerated idea of the alliances which he proposes, and of 
the assistance which he is able to promise. At the critical 

1 Writing some years later James Younger told Lord Burghley that he 
had heard Allen say he had always dissuaded Ballard, who, however, was 
ruled by Morgan (Domestic Calendar, 1592, p. 258). 


moment after his return from the North in July 1586, 
this weakness will show itself very clearly, and is probably 
the reason why the conspirators, when once they were 
in difficulties, ' quickly disliked Ballard's discretion.' 

We must also distinguish between Ballard before the 
conspiracy, when he seems to have been a gay, pushful, 
active, popular fellow, and after he had entangled himself 
in his wide, ill-knit, all-risking conspiracy, the anxieties 
for which oppressed and distracted him. He then comes 
before us as a man incapable of measured judgment, of 
facing the truth, of sober thought. He has become a 
restless monomaniac, distracted between hopes and fears, 
sure to bring ruin on any side he inspires. 

The injury which Ballard did to the catholic cause was 
enormous, almost incalculable. It was only natural that 
those who suffered for his misdeeds should have been 
furious at his evil offices. He was accused by Mary Stuart 
of being or of having been a spy of Walsingham, and this 
error, having been accepted by Chateauneuf, has been 
copied even by some modern apologists of Mary. 

Babington reproached him bitterly (even at the time 
of his death) for having ' abused his zeal in religion,' and 
there is little doubt that he at one time really meant to 
have betrayed the priest to Walsingham. But Ballard's 
silence, though he wavered at first under his tortures, 1 
and his self-control at death, show that the man did not 
lack a certain distinction and generosity. 2 His social 
gifts were clearly of a high order. 

1 See Crichtoris Memoir, below, pp. 160, 167. 

2 I cannot quite endorse Simpson's words (Campion, p. 336) : ' Not only 
was the treason of a Ballard or a Robert Catesby in its insulated effect, 
almost as pernicious as the martyrdom of a Campion was beneficent, but 
also through them, in the old protestant language rebellion was turned 
into religion, and faith into faction.' 

In protestant language, that had been done in England years before 
Ballard's treasons, and it was also done in many other countries in which 


5. Bollard's First Steps in Politics, 1585. 

Ballard's meddling' in politics had been very very slight 
before the year 1586. Perhaps the only serious cause for 
suspicion is offered by his visit to Morgan and Paget at 
the end of 1584. But even if he did then begin to co- 
operate with them, it is probable that he did not as yet 
do more than send them news of the same class that we 
now read in our daily papers. After his return to England, 
in January 1585, he made a short tour among the catholic 
gentry of East Anglia, and another (perhaps two) between 
Whitsuntide and Bartilmas (June to August). The latter 
journey, we know, was made with a political object, but 
not a very serious one. During these journeys Ballard 
probably sought out such catholic gentlemen as were 
likely to favour forcible measures. He came into com- 
munication with Mr. David Ingleby, brother of Sir William 
Ingleby of Ripley, who had married Lady Margaret Neville, 
daughter of the Earl of Westmorland. Ingleby, though 
now a fugitive, was perhaps the most earnest and extreme 
supporter of the ancien regime who still remained in 
England. Another friend was Edward Windsor, brother 
of Lord Windsor, and afterwards one of the conspirators. 
The first definitely political act, with which we can connect 
Ballard's name, was to procure for these gentlemen news 
of the plans of the Scottish catholics. This he did through 
John Boste, another priest and afterwards a martyr. 
Though the matter is a small one, it may be worth quoting 
the abstract of Ballard's examination of 5 September 
1586, in which he is reported to have confessed as follows : 

' Ballard saith that the last year [1585] in summer he was 
sent by David Ingleby and Edward Windsor into the North to 

Ballard's name was never heard. It is, however, no exaggeration to say 
that his treasons were among the greatest calamities which Catholicism 
in England has had to endure. 



understand if the Lords of Scotland meant to stand out ; 
and he understood by Boste that, if the Lords of Scotland had 
not aid, they were not able to hold out, and that the Lords of 
Scotland found great fault with the English Catholics, that they 
did not hold out as they did. For if they did, and joined to- 
gether, they might the better attain to liberty of religion. And 
the Scottish Lords looked for aid out of France, but they were 
prevented by the broils. And this answer of Boste the said 
Ballard returned to Edward Windsor and David Ingleby.' x 

Even here there is nothing really reprehensible, perhaps 
nothing of any importance whatever. But ' in the end 
of Christmas 1585,' or, as we should say, early in 1586, 
Ballard undertook a negotiation which involved politics 
of an emphatic type. He went to Scotland to consult 
with Lord Claude Hamilton ' about aid for an invasion 
of England.' We learn this from Dunne's confession. 

' Dunne confesseth that Ballard in the end of Christmas 
last, told him he would go into Scotland ; and at his return 
thence before Lent, he told him, he had been with the Lord 
Claude, about aid for an invasion against England.' 2 

Lord Claude Hamilton was the most important of 4 the 
Queen's Lords ' in Scotland. He had led the van of her 
army at Langside, and was in many ways one of her ablest 
supporters. He was also, next after his brother John, the 
nearest heir to the throne of Scotland. He had just 
returned home after exile, and had been well received by 
King James. We do not know what passed between Lord 
Claude and the English priest. Lord Claude had no great 
power, and probably could not give Ballard promises of 
any value. In any case Ballard was not discouraged. 
He returned to London ' before Lent ' (Ash Wednesday 
in that year fell on the 16th of February^ and he then 
became acquainted with Savage's plot, and thereupon 

Scottish Calendar, Boyd, p. 695. 2 Ibid. p. 692. 


resolved to go over again and to consult with Morgan 
and Paget. 

It is evident that a good deal more happened in London 
in February and March than yet meets the eye. We should 
give much for an authentic account of the way in which 
Ballard was admitted to the conspiracy of Savage and 
George Gifford. We should also much like to know, 
whether Gilbert was aware of what was going on. There 
is no question that he was in touch with Savage, and 
keeping him to his impossible ' vow r .' Indeed, this was the 
time when Phelippes wrote to Walsingham, that Gilbert 
could soon find out anything going on among the catholics. 1 
Yet it will appear later that Gilbert, though so 'near to 
the persons concerned^ did not as yet know much about 
Ballard' s plans. On the other hand, for reasons which 
will presently appear, we know that Walsingham must by 
this have heard a good deal about that busy person. 

During this same stay in London Ballard told Edward 
Windsor and Tilney that there would be an invasion, 
and promised with his usual boldness of statement, ' places 
and entertainment ' if they would go abroad to join the 
invading force. 2 We have heard from Tyrrell that Ballard 
was by this time acquainted with Babington and the rest, 
and that before starting for France his friends and he met 
for dinner at the Plough without Temple Bar. 

Of this meeting Tyrrell gives the following account : 

' Fortescue's last going into France was in Lent last about 
the middle thereof. All his friends and acquaintances about 

1 Writing of a letter addressed to Scotland, Phelippes says : ' My secret 
friend shall know what becomes of it.' 19 March 1586; Boyd, viii. 253. 

2 ' Ballard half a year past told Edward Windsor and Tilney that 
there would be an invasion shortly, and persuaded them to go beyond 
the seas, promising to provide places and entertainment for them.' 
Tilney 's examination of 21 August. Ballard according to this spoke to 
them ' half a year ago ' that would be about 21 March; Boyd, p. 686. 


London were privy thereto. Divers dined with him in Fish 
Street, at the King's Head, the day of his departure from 
London.' 1 

Babington, being cross-examined over this, gave the 
following slightly different account : 

4 In the last Lent this examinate took his leave with Ballard 
at the Plough without Temple Bar, the night before Ballard's 
going. At which time there was in this examinate's companie 
Mr. Tichborne and Mr. Barnewell. With Barnewell there was 
Anthony Tunstall, Mawde, Dunne, and one Donnington, whom 
this examinate knew not.' (Below, p. 95.) 

Mawde was an emissary of Walsingham. At this feast, 
which was meant to throw the secretary off the scent, his 
representative has found a place at the board ! 

6. Bernard Mawde. 

Ballard started off for France, it being then about the 
middle of Lent (about 13th to the 21st of March, O.S.), and 
arrived at Rouen, where he took up his lodgings near the 
Church of St. Nicaise, in company with the same Mawde, 
whom Babington has just enumerated among the guests 
at the Plough. This was the man whom Walsingham 
says he ' used towards Ballard.' 2 Evidently, therefore, 
the secretary even at this early date knew that ' the grand 
practitioner,' as Gilbert afterwards styled him, was a 
source of danger, and had already gone so far as to place 
a special spy at his side. We must therefore describe 
Mawde' s modus operandi, and seek for some explanation 
of his present from his previous history. 

Bernard Mawde had once been a ' gentleman in the house- 
hold ' of Edwin Sandys, Protestant Archbishop of York, 

1 Tyrrell's Confession, R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 69. 15 ; Boyd, viii. 
653. On the last line of the page last mentioned, for Wade read Mawde. 

2 Boyd, viii. 589. 


and had afterwards implicated his Grace in a certain false 
charge of incontinency, of which (so far as we can now see) 
the Archbishop was certainly not guilty, though he weakly 
consented to pay Mawde and his confederates hush-money 
to prevent the affair being made public. Nevertheless, it 
leaked out ; and Sandys was then obliged to defend himself 
before the Privy Council. He did so, however, to such 
good purpose that Bernard Mawde, ' gentleman,' and the 
rest, were found guilty on the 8th of May 1583. Of him 
the Court of Inquiry stated that he ' had lately served the 
said Archbishop, and upon sundry misbehaviours and 
abuses by him committed, was put out of his service, in 
respect whereof he was become a malicious enemy against 
the said Archbishop,' and had been the prime-mover in 
fabricating the false charge. His sentence was to give 
back to the Archbishop all the money obtained by fraud, 
to pay to the Queen 300, and to be imprisoned in the 
Fleet for three years. Had he not ' humbly submitted 
himself and confessed his offence,' his ears would have 
been slit ' as he had well deserved.' 1 

Three years' imprisonment to run from the 8th of May 
1583 should have kept this mischief-maker out of the way 
of doing harm until the middle of May 1586. But already 
in the middle of March he is sitting at table with Ballard 
in the Plough Inn without Temple Bar ; and it was surely 
not the first day that he had sat in that company. The 
conclusion is obvious, that he had been let out in order 
to spy upon the catholics. Walsingham knew there was 
mischief afoot. 

Mawde was eventually the only one of the agents pro- 
vocateurs, whose treachery the conspirators discovered. It 
is mentioned by Babington in his last letter to Mary, and 

1 John Le Neve, Protestant Bishops of the Church of England, ii. 42, 
prints the above decree, etc. 


was denounced openly during the trial of Edward Windsor, 
who having at first escaped capture, was tried later. 
Though of course sentenced, he escaped death through the 
intercession of his mother. He afterwards wrote to Hatton 
(30 May 1587) explaining his pleas. He says that Mawde, 
and Jacques * (Jacomo Francisci) earnestly persuaded him 
not to give up Ballard (as Windsor was about to do). 
They were, he said, ' the chief workers of this conspiracy, 
and wholly employed by Ballard. ... I call upon them 
to appear at the King's Bench.' 2 

I have found only one of Mawde' s letters to Walsingham, 
1 August 1586, written after Ballard had given him the 
slip and had returned to London. He writes as we might 
expect at that time, confessing that for the moment he 
has no news. On the 5th of August, Walsingham writes 
to Elizabeth that Mawde had never got thoroughly into 
Ballard' s confidence, so that it seemed useless to employ 
him any further. 3 That he was a very odious traitor is 
clear enough ; though perhaps not a very effective 

We hear of Mawde again in 1592, when having gone to 
Spanish Flanders, in order to continue his trade of spying, 

1 Jacomo Francisci, commonly called Captain Jacques, was a soldier of 
fortune, born in Antwerp of a Venetian father. He was now in the 
following of Hatton; later, 1589, he entered the service of the Duke of 
Parma, and from that time was constantly accused by English spies of 
encouraging others to attack Elizabeth. This must greatly strengthen 
the suspicions which arise from charges such as the above. It does not 
seem that he was admitted to Babington's conspiracy, which was formed 
in June ; and the reason for this may be that he was then in Ireland. He 
was in prison in the Fleet before he went over to Parma, but we know not 
why. Tyrrell in his Confessions charged him with being Ballard 's constant 
companion, and a participator in all his plottings ; but in his Detractions 
he recalled some six times all charges of disloyalty. 

2 R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, cci. n. 50, 30 May 1587. Typping also 
declared that ' Ballard and Mawde told him about the invasion.' 

' B oyd, viii. 579, 589 ; the latter is also printed, Tytler, iv. 130. The 
letter of i August is written under the alias Montalto. The MS. is R.O., 
Scotland, xli. n. 4. 


he was arrested. A deposition against him survives, 1 
which was then made by Mr. John Pauncefote, of 
Pauncefote-Hasfield, Gloucester, an exile for his faith. 
As he had married Dorothy, the sister of Edward Windsor 
of Bradenham, Bucks., mentioned above, he was likely to 
know about Windsor's charges made in court against the 
spy. He was also, as it happened, at Rouen at the time 
of Ballard's visit in 1586. He says of Mawde : ' II se 
faisoit nommer alors Montalto, et se faignoit de vouloir 
estre catholique, estant hereticq.' Later on, he says, he 
betrayed Ballard and the rest to their deaths. As to this 
' tous ceulx qui le cognoissent, afferment le diet Bernard 
Mawde estre cause de telle execution,' and then he men- 
tions Edward Windsor's protest mentioned above. 2 

With this section closes for us the period of greatest 
dimness and uncertainty. We have discerned various 
dark figures, engaged in mischief, which we cannot at first 
fully fathom ; and Walsingham's agents are mixed up 
with them. Now they will all gradually come further 
into the open. 


1 . A Congress at Paris. 

It has been well said by Dr. Lingard that the Babington 
plot was in reality a double conspiracy, that of Walsingham 
himself against Mary, and that of Morgan and Babington 
against Elizabeth. Each depended on the other. Without 
Walsingham's aid to carry letters, Morgan and his asso- 

1 Bulletins de la Commission Royale d'Histoire de Belgique, par Alphonse 
Goovaerts, 1896. sme serie, vi. no. i. 

8 Mawde escaped this time. In 1596 a spy, called Williamson, stated 
that if either he or Poley returned to Flanders, they would be executed 
(Domestic Calendar, 1596, p. 29). 


elates could not even have begun' to plot : while, but for 
Morgan's plottings, Walsingham would have lost his chief 
title to popular glory. Whether the English statesman 
had already begun actively to foment plots through Gilbert 
Gifford, Mawde, or others, is not yet proven. But at all 
events the English gold with which he avowedly baited 
his snares had already seduced many ; and now he was 
prepared to go further. 

The scene of the following intrigues is Paris, and Ballard 
is on his way there attended by his treacherous companion. 
They reached Rouen about the end of March, according 
to the new style in use there ; and they were shortly 
after followed, or perhaps even preceded, by another of 
Walsingham' s emissaries, Solomon Aldred, who was to 
carry but a suggestion of singular malignity, which had 
been made by Gilbert Gifford. To understand this we 
must go back. When Gilbert first came over, he told 
Walsingham, at Morgan's suggestion 

' That he had waged perpetual hostilities with the Fathers 
of the Society, that he was resolved to continue. That he 
hoped to get many to join him, and that he was minded to 
essay and try anything whatsoever against them. . . . This 
pleased Walsingham exceedingly, who freed me and gave me 
20. All this, as it occurred, I let Morgan know, adding, in a 
letter which passed under Walsingham's eye, that I had under- 
taken to call over Dr. William Gifford ; but I wrote at the 
same time by the French post, to prevent his coming.' 1 

The confession here quoted was written at a much later 
date, 14 August 1588, when Gilbert was in the prison of 
the Archbishop of Paris. He was then excusing himself 
with the plea that Morgan had been his leader, and was 
responsible for him from the first ; and by these arts he 
successfully concealed his machinations against Mary. 

A man so factious as Morgan was easily deceived. To 

1 Uatfield Calendar, iii. 347, 14 August 1588. See below, p. 128. 


him it seemed perfectly natural that a young catholic 
cleric should go over and hob-nob with the fanatical 
persecutor Walsingham, if he declared he did so out of 
hatred of the Jesuits. It aroused no suspicion that Wal- 
singham should appear to be so amused by this, as to allow 
Gilbert all the liberty, leisure, and money he needed. By 
such simple excuses Gilbert kept Morgan completely hood- 
winked. He never had a suspicion until the catastrophe 
was over. His was folly so egregious, that many thought 
it must have been malicious. This conclusion, however, 
was exaggerated : Morgan's main intention was good. 
He was entirely devoted to carrying on correspondence 
for his mistress ; and whilst that went well, his prison walls 
and his attention to petty feuds prevented his noting what 
went amiss. 

I will not attempt to sound the mind of Dr. William 
Gifford, or of Edward Grately, who was classed with him. 
They also suffered from factiousness : but I think their 
chief fault was an overmastering desire to return to 
England and enjoy such liberty as they saw Gilbert had 
won, they knew not how. 

In the above confession Gilbert represented himself as 
having but once desired the calling over of Dr. William, 
and of having then put an obstacle in the way. But this, 
as we shall see both now and later, is a very imperfect 
representation of the story. Solomon Aldred, once tailor 
at the English College, Rome, and now in Walsingham' s 
secret service, had in fact come over on purpose to bring 
Dr. William back. At Rouen Aldred had met Edward 
Grately, a priest who had at first done remarkably well on 
the mission, but had latterly fallen into Morgan's faction. 
Aldred fastened on him at once, and warmly urged him 
to turn protestant ; and to these instances the priest 
answered so weakly that the ex-tailor thought that he was 
on the point of giving up his faith. This, however, was 


Aldred's error ; and Grately's letters make it seem likely 
that the mistake was due chiefly to the apostate's fanati- 
cism. Nevertheless, the priest wrote to Dr. William at 
Rheims to come to Paris, and the Doctor gave up his 
lectures and came. Here he met both Aldred and Grately 
as well. The latter had made the journey as a guide to 
Ballard, and they had left Mawde behind. 

Thus plotters on both sides were in Paris about the 
14th or 15th of April, and both parties at once went to 
work, each conspiring in their own way. Let us follow 
Walsingham's agents first. 

2. Walsingham s Agents. 

As we already know, the object of Walsingham is to 
procure conspirators, and the man he now wants is Dr. 
William Gifford. Aldred has already made progress to- 
wards his capture, for he has withdrawn him from the 
College, and has now got him into his lodgings, and is 
forcing Walsingham's summons upon him, with Grately, 
and even the English ambassador, to assist. William was 
weak, 1 and already wavering, and Aldred was vexed at 
his want of enterprise, ' He is very willing to inveigh against 
them ' (i.e. Allen and his party), ' yet loth to put his credit 
in hazard, fearing lest he should be known.' 2 

The Doctor clearly does not suspect the terrible purpose 
for which Walsingham wants him ; that of a stalking-horse, 
by which he may destroy Queen Mary, and with her as 
many of her party as he can. As to this, his treacherous 
cousin Gilbert was using words like these, ' Dr. Gifford' s 
coming is most necessary. He is sure to be greatly 
employed. . . . Morgan and .Paget with the rest will 
impart all things to him, which I am too assured I shall 

1 In March 1583, Dr. Allen had described him as ' valde labilis et infirmi 
animi.' Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, p. 186. 

2 Calendar Domestic Addenda, 1580, p. 174. 


know, for he can hide nothing from me. Therefore the 
sooner he were sent for, the better leisure we shall have 
to provide for their devilish desire.' l 

The last words admit of no doubt. Dr. William was to 
become the spiritual leader of the participators in the 
conspiracy which Walsingham was preparing, which was 
to end in the destruction of Mary and the ruin of her 
followers. If, even as it was, Dr. William was indicted 
and did not avoid the verdict of Guilty, he would surely 
not have escaped with life, had he placed himself within 
the power of the man who was now beckoning him over 
with such unprincipled hypocrisy. 

Fortunately indeed for himself the Doctor eventually 
refused to go to England ; even though Sir Edward Staf- 
ford, the English ambassador, came to urge him. We have 
Gifford's paper of reasons of refusal ; not a very glorious 
document 2 seeing that he promises to advance still further 
the faction of Morgan, just at the time when it was so 
supremely necessary that all should support Allen, and 
avoid the party quarrels which threatened the cause 
of Mary with ruin. It is surely disappointing that this 
eloquent, good, and able man, though he well knew so much 
of Walsingham' s malevolence and wickedness, should not 
have done anything to frustrate his plots, or to hinder the 
evil influence of the apostate Aldred, whom he had known 
before as a catholic in Rome. Had Dr. William but given 
the alarm, Ballard, Babington, and others might have been 

1 B.M., Harleian, 286, f. 136; see below, p. in. There are two letters 
almost identical, of n and 12 July. Though this date was three months 
later than that at which we now stand (15 April), there is no question that 
the intentions of Gilbert and of Walsingham were the same ah 1 through. 
An example of ' imparting all things ' to a theological authority may be 
found in Babington's Confessions, i. 9, where Babington tells Gilbert, ' he 
should assure us from beyond seas by authority that this action was 
directly lawful in every part.' 

2 R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, cxcix. n. 95, cf. Addenda Calendar, p. 174. 
Stafford's letter of 15/25 April is R.O., France, xv. f. 176. 


put upon their guard, or at least made more cautious. 
On the other hand, Gilbert's reflection was, 4 How necessary 
it is to entertain Doctor Gifford and Grately, otherwise it 
were impossible but I should be suspected ' (below, p. 118). 

Morgan soon learnt about this interview, but he was 
easily persuaded there was no harm in it. Fearing, how- 
ever, lest Mary should get to hear from Allen's party 
something sinister about so great a departure from clerical 
conventions, he wrote to reassure her on the 24th of April. 
He praised Dr. William and Grately, c who without all 
doubt will overtake the Secretary' [i.e. Walsingham]. 
They act ' indeed to profit their country, and not to 
serve Secretary Walsingham' s turn, whatsoever they may 
promise him.' 1 

These words describe truly enough the estimate of 
Morgan in regard to Walsingham' s plot. He had entirely 
misconceived and disregarded its danger, when some know- 
ledge about it was not very far from him. 

But he must not be taken as an adequate witness for 
William Gifford or for Grately. So far as our papers go, 
they are playing the parts of waverers ; but if we knew 
their minds better, we should probably find that what they 
really wanted was toleration on the same terms as Gilbert 
Gifford had (they thought) obtained it ; that is by separ- 
ating from Dr. Allen and the Jesuits. But Allen's name 
stood so high that they did not dare to break with him 
openly, and so they lingered on. Grately eventually fell, 
while the doctor, attending to his college work, came 
through safely. 2 

1 Morgan's letter is printed in full in Murdin's State Papers, p. 511. 
The abstracts in Boyd, p. 332, and Hatfield Calendar, iii. 139, are too brief. 
Walsingham, of course, saw this letter, which presumably caused the 
indictment of Dr. William. See Morris, p. 278. 

2 For the incident regarding Dr. Gifford, see The Month, March-April 
1904, Dr. Gifford in 1586. Most of the documents quoted here are there 
printed. See also Boyd, p. 500, where D. A. is Dr. Allen. 


3. Ballard' s Plotters. 

We may now contrast the somewhat inglorious intrigue 
of Aldred to ensnare William Gifford and Grately, with the 
daring and unscrupulous projects of Ballard. Both meet- 
ings probably took place about the same time, and possibly 
at no great distance one from another. 

Don Bernardino de Mendoza, Captain of light horse, 
and Knight of Santiago, at the time of Ballard' s visit, had 
been Spanish ambassador in Paris since the beginning 
of 1585, and he had been sent there on purpose to pursue a 
vigorous policy in regard to England. For this he was a 
very fit agent. A retired soldier, full of energy and of 
confidence in the greatness and resourcefulness of his 
country, he had moreover suffered much from Queen 
Elizabeth, to whom he had been ambassador before. Her 
government had taken every opportunity of thwarting 
and irritating him ; and had finally driven him out of the 
country, with ostentatious disregard for diplomatic courtesy, 
on the discovery of an alleged plot by Francis Throck- 
morton. Don Bernardino had left breathing threats of 
vengeance, and Philip n., convinced of his rectitude and 
ability, had made him ambassador at Paris. It was a 
good bold move, yet not without some drawbacks. It led, 
in the first place, to a violent quarrel with the outgoing 
ambassador, Don Juan Bautista de Taxis and his sup- 
porters, Don Bernardino's now over- wrought temper 
giving rise to much friction. He had, for instance, while in 
England, been a warm supporter of Father Robert Persons. 
But when Persons, during his exile, was taken up by Taxis, 
Mendoza took the side of Morgan, and from henceforward 
strongly opposed the friends of the English Jesuit. Similar 
cases soon multiplied. Irritation and desire of revenge 
was making his policy precipitate and unbalanced. 

Such was the man to whom Ballard was now led by 


Charles Paget, instead of by Morgan, who was still in the 
Bastille. As we might have expected, the Spaniard 
welcomed the priest warmly, and Captain Foscue, ex- 
tremely susceptible as he always was to the influence 
of men of station, fell completely under the spell of so 
redoubtable a politician. Here is the account of the inter- 
view, given by Mendoza to his master, followed by the 
report of Charles Paget to Mary written two weeks later. 
Paget descends to many more details than Mendoza, and 
is far more indiscreet. 

Mendoza to King Philip II. , 11 and 12 May 1586, N.8. (Spanish Calendar, 
1580-1586, p. 576. The original is Paris, Archives Nationals, 
K. 1564, now n. 58 ; kindly verified by Pere J. de Joannis, S. J.). 

The French . . . [try to influence the English catholics to 
distrust your Majesty]. ... It is believed, however, that the 
latter will take no notice of this, as they have sent a priest to 
me, on behalf of the principal catholics, to say that God has 
infused more courage than ever into them, and has opened 
their eyes to the fact that no time is so opportune as the present, 
to shake off the oppression of the Queen and the yoke of heresy, 
that weighs upon them, since most of the strongest heretics 
are now absent in Zeeland. They say that as I have never 
yet deceived them, they beg me to tell them whether your 
Majesty had determined to help them to take up arms, when 
they decide to do so. I replied in general terms, speaking of 
your Majesty's good-will towards them and encouraging them 
in their good intentions : and I sent the priest back well posted 
in what I thought necessary, and told him to return to me with 
full details, as in so important a matter we must have more 
than generalities. Paris, 11 May 1586. 

. I Depurate cipher addressed to Secretary Idiaquez himself follows (Spanish 
Calendar, p. 579. Spanish text, Paris, Archives, K. 1564, now n. 65 ; 
kindly collated by Pere de Joannis, S.J., printed Teulet, v. 348). 

I beg you to have the following very carefully deciphered 
and put into his Majesty's own hands. It is written and 
ciphered by me personally : 

I am advised from England by four men of position who have 


the entry into the Queen's house, that they have discussed for 
at least three months the intention of killing her. They have 
at last agreed, and the four have mutually sworn to do it. They 
will, on the first opportunity, advise me when it is to be done : 
and whether by poison or steel, in order that I may send the 
intelligence to your Majesty, supplicating you to be pleased to 
help them after the business is effected. They say that they 
will not divulge the intention to another soul but me, to whom 
they are under great obligations, and in whose secrecy they 
have confidence. Paris, 12 May 1586. 

Charles Paget to the Queen of Scots, 19/29 May 1586 (printed in Murdin, 
State Papers, p. 517. Boyd, p. 386, but this version is somewhat 

It may please your Majesty. . . . Since the writing of my last 
to your Majesty, there came hither out of England a priest 
called Ballard, one that is very honest and discreet, and is 
entirely acquainted with all the best catholics of England, and 
with some of Scotland where he hath been. He told me how 
he was sent hither to declare the minds and readiness that 
the most part of catholics and schismatics * were in, to take 
arms so as they might be assured of foreign help. I brought 
him to the Spanish ambassador and made him to signify his 
knowledge therein. And so he declared in general how many 
of the principal Noblemen and knights in the North parts, in 
Lancashire, the west country, and divers other shires besides, 
were willing to take arms. What number they would make 
armed and unarmed, and that many of them had given their 
promise by oath, and received the sacrament of performance. 
And that now the Earl of Leicester having all the best of 
the protestants, captains, and soldiers with him, and the people 
grieved, were much discontented with the oppression used 
towards them by reason of the wars in the Low Countries, the 
time were now very fit and proper to give them relief. 

The Spanish ambassador heard him very well, and made 
him set down in number how many in every shire would be 
contented to take arms, and what number of men armed and 

1 It was usual at this period for the catholics to term any of their 
co - religionists who through fear went to the established churches 
' Schismatics.' It was a popular, not a theologically accurate term. 


unarmed, they could provide. 1 He (Ballard) said he might not 
name the persons, because he had engaged the contrary upon 
his priesthood. He likewise gave him information of the ports 
with many other things fit to be known. 

Howbeit, because he came with so general resolution, the 
Spanish ambassador hath given him further instructions, in 
what sort he would have him to proceed in more particular, 
and with secrecy enough, and after satisfaction given him in 
these points, from some of the principallest and wisest, he 
doth assure him that the king his master, the King of Spain, 
will be brought to give them reasonable speedy relief. The 
principallest point given him in charge is, that the safety of 
your person may be well continued ; and, if it be possible, that 
your Majesty be taken out of your keeper's hands. Also what 
port were best to land in, which port I think will fall out to be 
Newcastle, Hartlepool, or Scarborough, or some port town in 
the North. The aid which should be given shall be by the 
Prince of Parma with such expedition and so much beside 
the expectation of the Queen of England, as it will wonderfully 
vex her, for that she will never so much as dream of that 
course, but think whatsoever is intended will be performed from 

This Ballard will be here again, God willing, after my return 
from the Spaw. What then falleth out to the purpose, your 
Majesty shall be advertised thereof with diligence. The ambas- 
sador hath already advertised the King of Spain in general terms 
what Ballard came for. He wisheth me not to write to your 
Majesty till things be brought to a better resolution and more 
certainty ; but hereof he is to pardon me. For though to 
content him, I said I would not, yet I know my duty and 
obedience ever command me to declare to your Majesty what 
importeth you ; and specially such a matter of importance as 
this is : and therefore am I humbly to beseech your Majesty 
to direct me in what sort you will have me to proceed further, 
and especially for your liberty, wherein many be to be considered, 
and that will I do. 

Postponing for a moment what we have to say about the 
light here thrown on the plot in England, we will first 

1 How many in every shire, etc.' See below, p. clxxvi. 


conclude our account of the meeting in Paris. It is per- 
fectly clear then that both Paget and Mendoza regarded 
this conference as the opening of intercourse with a new 
power, that of the body of the English catholics. Ballard's 
proposals, they thought, are the first, vague, indeterminate 
expressions of those who had hitherto lain altogether 
motionless, silent, purposeless. Until they became vocal 
and purposeful, no plot, no plan could have any success. 
Ballard is sent back to them to begin again on new lines ; 
to make the English offers clear, definite, secure. 4 We 
must have more than generalities,' says Mendoza. It is 
only when this new beginning has been made, that negotia- 
tions, properly so called, will begin. 

But Paget strikes a different note. Not only does he 
write to Mary against Mendoza' s advice an unwise breach 
of discipline but he is evidently straining throughout, in 
order to make Ballard's plans appear more attractive. 
While Mendoza called them ' generalities,' and though they 
were, as we shall see in the event, mostly mere fancies, 
Paget is endeavouring to produce the impression of definite 
numbers, and sworn confederates. He dwells on the 
different localities that are assured the north parts, 
Lancashire, the West country, and ' the numbers set 
down in every shire, who would be contented to take 
arms,' etc. 

But Paget' s exaggerations are but child's-play compared 
with those of Ballard. He returned to England, and 
handed on his message ; but in so doing we find him 
making, according to Babington, the following surprising 
changes, (below, p. 52). 

' Ballard told me that, being with Mendoza in Paris, he was 
informed that in regard to the injuries done by our State to 
the greatest Christian princes, it was resolved by the Catholic 
League to seek redress, and to perform this summer without 
further delay, having in readiness such forces, and all warlike 



preparations, the like of which was never seen in these parts 
of Christendom. The Pope was the chief disposer. The Kings 
of France and Spain concurred. . . . The Duke of Guise, or 
the Duke of Maine would conduct the enterprise for France. 
For the Italian and Spanish forces, the Prince of Parma. The 
number would be about 60,000 men. 

' And hereupon he came over to inform thus much, to sound 
the catholics for assisting, and for the preservation of their 
possessions, upon which the stranger would enter by right of 
conquest without sparing any, in case they did not declare 
themselves performers.' 

The alteration is indeed complete. The sum of Mendoza' s 
message had been this. ' Bring to us before September 
definite numbers, attestations, and plans, and we will 
surely help you.' The sum of Ballard's message is ' The 
invasion is fixed for September in any case. Come and 
assist. That will be the way to keep your estates in 
safety.' According to Mendoza the time would be decided 
by the English catholics ; the assistance would come from 
the Spaniards : no mention is made of the French. Accord- 
ing to Ballard the time is September, the attacking force 
is the mythical catholic League, 1 with the Pope supreme, 
and the kings of Spain and of France taking leading parts ! 
The foreign army of 60,000 men seems also suspicious. 
Talking to Savage, Ballard used that figure for the army 
of English insurgents who had promised to rise. 

Perhaps some friend of Ballard may here object that 
I am blaming him on inadequate evidence for these ex- 
aggerated statements, which do not come to us from Ballard 
directly, but through Babington. May it not be that the 
blame for them should rather attach to the latter ? The 
answer is, first, that Babington does not stand alone ; 
Savage, Gifford, and others tell the same story, though briefly 
and without details. Moreover, as evidence accumulates, 
we find Babington a distinctly good witness, while Ballard 

1 See above, p. xvii. 


is as constantly a bad one. (See p. 105.) He now evidently 
lets his imagination run riot : and the wish is father to his 
thought. On the other hand, Babington's confessions will 
show that the layman had an excellent memory, and is able 
to give by heart, without again consulting the originals, quite 
long summaries of letters, often in the words of the original. 

As we cannot believe that Ballard intended to deceive 
his companions, we must conclude that he thought his 
account of Mendoza's plan was broadly the same as that 
which Mendoza would give of it. In other words, he was 
practically beside himself. Woe to those who, hencefor- 
ward, trusted to his teaching, or confided in his information. 
The same phenomenon is afterwards to be remarked in 
the other conspirators. Once men of firmness and good 
conscience, they became exaltes to the point of mental 
aberration, passed their time in talking crime, and be- 
wildered themselves with the morality of the ' ban.' l 

It also follows that Paget and Mendoza were entirely 
deceived as to their messenger. They thought they were 
dealing with a prudent man, and taking a non-committal 
first move ; in reality they were filling the head of this 
enthusiast with the most exaggerated dreams. This was 
not to be a preliminary overture, but the final declaration. 
They would never see Ballard again. Nothing could now 
prevent his urging on his intrigues till they burst into 
public notice. The die was cast. A lunatic was at the 
helm. Shipwreck was certain. 

Before we leave Mendoza and his letter, we ask ourselves, 
what is its value in regard to the rising and to the plot, 
of which it speaks in a vague, grandiose way. We shall 
find as we proceed, that there is no real basis for the talk 
of the English catholics dealing as a body with Mendoza 

1 Babington's Confessions, viii. pp. 94, 95. 


through Ballard, with a view to an extensive rising. On 
the other hand, the confessions subsequently taken show 
that there was a good foundation for saying that a con- 
spiracy had begun, and that it comprised George Gifford, 
Savage, and also, presumably, Thomas Salisbury, Tich- 
borne, and Edward Windsor. But even here we have 
very little evidence to rely upon. When Babington 
commenced his plot, his first condition was that this 
preliminary machination should cease, and, for some 
reason or other, the government showed no anxiety to go 
back upon it. To us, therefore, it remains something 
definite indeed, but obscure and intangible as to its details. 
It would certainly not have been better organised than 
Babington' s plot, which took its place : nor would George 
Gifford (from what we heard about him above) have 
inspired more enthusiasm than Babington. Gilbert's 
efforts to keep Savage up to the mark, one of which was 
made at this very time, also suggest the idea that the older 
conspiracy was really moribund (below, pp. 169-175). 

4. Gilbert's Plottings. 

Hardly were the intrigues at Paris over, than who should 
come over to France but Gilbert Gifford. In his later con- 
fessions he says that he soon got tired of his work in 
England and came over for a change. The truth, however, 
probably is that he went over to carry on the intrigue for 
getting Dr. William Gifford to come to England. Grately 
had written on the 10/20 April, to ask Walsingham to let 
him come. Gilbert Gifford knew well the advantage of 
keeping his friends in France deceived, ' Otherwise it were 
impossible but I should be suspected.' 1 

1 Gilbert to Walsingham, n July (below, p. 108). Grately 's letter of 
20 April, from Paris (R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, Addenda, xxix. n. 100) 
says, ' If Mr. Colderin [Gilbert Gifford] come to Rouen at once, he may 
deliver your pleasure to me.' 


Walsingham consented, and on Sunday, 24 April/4 May 
(below, p. 99), Gilbert wrote to tell Curll that he was going 
abroad during the ensuing week, and that he had appointed 
a ' second substitute ' who would take letters down, whilst 
he was away. This ' second substitute ' was Thomas 
Barnes, of whom we shall hear more (below, pp. 1-5). 
Ten days later, 3/13 May, we find Walsingham telling 
Phelippes that ' some warning is to be given to G.,' i.e. 
Gifford, and this prepares us for his prompt return. 

Whether, while in France, Gilbert went to Paris in May 
seems unlikely. At all events if he visited Morgan, he 
did not visit Mendoza. He had, however, some com- 
munication with Grately, praised Walsingham' s kind 
intentions and so forth, in order to maintain the decep- 
tion that his intercourse with the persecutor was due 
to some honourable causes. 1 

The only matter connected with the conspiracy with 
which we knew that Gilbert concerned himself during this 
stay abroad, was to receive and bring back a letter to 
Savage, urging him to persevere with the plot. This may 
have been important, but we know very little about it. 
Savage confessed that he had, just before Babington joined 
the conspiracy, received three letters, from Morgan, from 
Dr. William, and from Gilbert Gifford, to confirm him in 
the plot. 2 That is all. 

That Morgan should have written asking Savage to 
support Ballard, was natural under the circumstances. 
Also it was natural for Gilbert Gifford to have communi- 
cated by letter, before he could return in person. So the 
fact of these 'treasonable letters may be accepted, but the 
inferences to be drawn from them are not yet certain. 

1 Grately to Walsingham, K.O., Domestic Elizabeth, Addenda, xxix. 100 ; 
dated ' this 28 May' ( = 18 May O.S.). It begins, 'The sincere relation 
which our friend upon his arrival did make of your honour/ etc. 

2 Boyd, viii. 681, ix. 14 ; State Trials, 1730, p. 122. 


5. The Plotters disperse. 

Ballard returned in May to Rouen, where he rejoined 
Mawde. Then they gave out that they were going to go 
to Milan, but they really went off in the opposite direction 
to England. 1 Ballard, before leaving, gave out with his 
usual rashness, ' que en dedans six sepmains aprez son 
partement, on oiroit grandes nouvelles d'eulx,' and 
Pauncefote, who tells us this, remarks that the time cor- 
responded with his arrest, and that of his companions. 
The date of Ballard's return was Whitsuntide, 22 May 1586. 

It is possible, though not likely, that Gilbert Gifford 
came back together with Ballard. They both returned 
about the same time ; but Chateauneuf is mistaken in his 
memoir, where he says that Gilbert sent Ballard over 
from Paris. 

Ballard on his arrival at once began the construction 
of the new plot, which the indictment dates the 30th and 
31st of May, while Gilbert pushed on to Chartley and 
reached his rendezvous on the 1st of June. Though it is 
possible that he may on these travels have picked up news 
of Ballard's fresh conspiracies, still it is safer not to assume 
this. Gilbert's recall was certainly due to Poulet's uneasy 
fears lest Mary should send out letters by some fresh means. 
During April and May there were no letters out at all, 
though so many were coming in. Might not that portend 
some trickery in the c honest man,' whose doings often 
seemed suspicious ? 2 Really there were no reasons for 
alarm. Mary's silence really signified that, having received 

1 So Pauncefote, Bulletins de la Commission voyale d'histoire, vi. i 
Brussels, 1896. 

'The honest man playeth the harlot with this people egregiously,' 
Morris, p. 191. ' I am of opinion it shall be well done to assure the 
honest man, thereby to know if he have any other vent for his letters ' 
Ibid., p. 195 ; both letters undated. It was Gilbert's function ' to assure' 
the brewer. 


the posts of about two years all at one time, several weeks 
were necessary to decipher and digest the news which they 
contained. Gifford on his return went down to Chartley, 
yet did not go to the house, but took up his lodging as 
before with Mr. Newport, steward to the Earl of Essex, 
and from thence interviewed the brewer and the substitute. 
He communicated with Mary's jailor by letter, which 
Poulet considered ' more safe, than if he had come in person 
during these short, light nights, especially considering that 
many of this Queen's family are stirring all night, by reason 
of her infirmity at present.' 1 

Gilbert had arrived on the 1st of June, and on the 3rd 
all Poulet' s anxieties were set at rest by the receipt, 
through the ' honest man,' of a packet whose size explained 
by itself the unusual silence which had preceded. More- 
over the brewer obtained a special tip of 10, which, Poulet 
thought, showed that ' this people make good account of 
this packet.' 

Poulet now changes his tone entirely, for the plot against 
Mary is clearly prospering, ' All is now well, thanks 
be to God ... I think myself very happy.' In this 
good humour he also praises Gilbert, whom he had so 
severely blamed when he was in a bad temper not long 
before. His misgiving then was that Gilbert had ' played 
the wanton ' in begging too freely for money from Mary, 
and in particular for a pension. It was not, of course, that 
the knight minded Mary being robbed ; but he feared that 
some little misfortune might perhaps intervene ; and then 
this quasi-robbery might be looked at with different eyes. 2 
However, this mood is now past, and he praises ' your 
friend ' warmly. He is ' very careful in this service, and 
professeth to have vowed himself wholly to your devotion, 
as one bound thereto by your singular benefits.' 

Morris, p. 196. 2 Ibid., pp. 193, 197, 198. 


Still even so a secret grudge yet remained. Writing on 
easier terms to Phelippes, that day or the next, Poulet 
said, 4 Your Friend had committed two or three great and 
gross faults in this country, which moved me the rather to 
expect the worst, but I trust the last dispatch from hence 
[evidently Mary's large post-packet] was so effectual as 
will suffice to salve all sores.' (Morris, p. 198.) 

This is rather mysterious. Sir Amias is so fond of 
strong terms that we may well suspect that he is over- 
stating. Gilbert's crime may perhaps have been renewed 
insistence for money : but we cannot forget the 4 great 
and gross fault ' of his life, which was so soon to bring 
him to prison in Paris until his death. It could not 
surprise us to find that he was already guilty of falls the 
same in kind. 


1. Anthony Babington ofDethwick. 

Anthony Babington, to whom Ballard now presented 
himself, was clearly a man who deserved a better fate. 
He belonged to an ancient family, originally settled at 
Babington or Bavington in Northumberland, whence it 
migrated to Dethwick (or Dethick) in Derbyshire. Here 
Anthony was born to considerable wealth in October 1561. 
He was brought up a catholic, and at eighteen he married 
Margaret Draycot. He now had one child, a daughter. 1 

1 There is a notice of Babington by W. Durrant Cooper in The Reliquary 
for April 1862, pp. 177-200. Some valuable State papers are there printed 
in full, viz. R.O., State Papers, Domestic Elizabeth, cxcii. 17, 18, 22, 34, 
39, 40, 41, 42, 47, 49; cxciii. 45, 62. Miscellanea of the Exchequer, 
T.G., no. 10,657 [sic], Inquisition into his goods in Nottingham- 
shire, 9 January 1587: also in Derbyshire, 18 January. Ibid., 10,591 
[sic], Goods in London. British Museum, MS. Lansdowne, no. 50, 
art. 77, Babington's Books. All that belonged to Babington in fee 


According to Chateauneuf's memoir he had once been 
a page to the Earl of Shrewsbury when keeper of the 
Scottish Queen. This has been improved upon by our 
romanticists, 1 who make him a page to the Queen and her 
' infatuated admirer.' With the same want of accuracy 
they describe him as having joined a secret society for 
the protection of Jesuit missionaries, when no such society 
existed. In 1580 he had gone to France for six months, 
and on his return rendered service (the details of which 
are not known) to various priests and missionaries. He 
also, at Morgan's request, forwarded five different packets 
of letters to Mary Stuart during two years (probably 1583, 
1584), but then refused to continue (p. 50). Neverthe- 
less Morgan had by then established a hold over him, 
which was to end fatally. 

Father William Weston, S.J., a pious man but somewhat 
wooden in character, who came to England in 1585, has 
given in his memoirs 2 an interesting and sympathetic 
account of our Anthonv. 

was given to Raleigh, 17 March 1587, Exch. Misc., J.E.G., no. 14,229 
[sic]. The settled estates went to his brothers Francis and George (B.M., 
Add. 6697, f- 444)- R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, cxcii. 39, 40, are also in 
London and Middlesex Archaeological Collections, i. p. 289. The notice in the 
Dictionary of National Biography gives many useful facts and references, 
though without much grasp of the plot itself. 

1 Labanoff, vi. 288, and the D.N.B. under Babington. 

Simpson's theory of a ' Catholic Secret Society ' will not stand historical 
investigation. Babington and his friends helped Jesuit missionaries in 
secret, it is true, but that does not make a Secret Society. See The Month, 
June 1905, p. 592. 

2 Morris, Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, ii. pp. 181-7. 

Father Weston did not write xmtil nearly thirty years later, by which 
time his memory was getting faulty. Several errors will be named, and 
others might be added. His chief authority, he says, was Father R. 
Southwell's Supplication, written at the end of 1591, which Weston had 
read in MS. at the time, and quotes ' as well as I can remember it.' 
Nevertheless he makes many mistakes. He introduces, for instance, a 
long episode about some one feigning to be the Duke of Guise, which is 
neither in the printed edition of the Supplication, 1601, pp. 30-40, nor in 
the MS. of the book among the Petyt MSS. (Inner Temple Library, 538, 


* Anthony Babington was a man of good family and good 
property ; he was well t)ff for money and valuables of all sorts. 
Young, scarce thirty years of age, 1 he was attractive in face 
and form, quick of intelligence, agreeable and facetious ; he 
had a turn for literature unusual among men of the world. 
He had spent some time at Paris and elsewhere, and on his 
return gathered round him, by force of his gifts and moral 
superiority, other young men of his own rank, zealous and 
adventurous catholics, bold in danger, earnest for the pro- 
tection of the catholic faith, or for any enterprise intended to 
promote the catholic cause. . . . 

As he was inclined to the idea of foreign travel, it was a 
pleasure for him to hear me describe various localities which 
I had seen and known. Once when his coach and horses 
were ready to take him to his distant home, he begged me to 
accompany him, hinting that he hoped to have something 
to accomplish.' 

But the retiring padre refused, partly shy of Babington' s 
lavish expenditure, partly (he hints but does not openly 
say) because he was not sure what the business might be, 
in which he would be involved. 

Babington was not a hero, much less a great conspirator. 
Young and philosophic, pious and friendly, he was not a 
man of action, nor of decision. He had not enough of 
the cunning of the serpent to judge securely of men like 
Gifford, Poley, and Ballard. He yielded too easily to their 
advances, was slow in perceiving the danger which those 
advances implied, and he was not vigorous enough to adopt 
heroic remedies in the last resort. He could never make 
up his mind whether he should conspire or betray the 

xxx vi. ff. 56-77). Like most catholics of his clay, he believed that the 
conspirators did not intend ' the death of Elizabeth, as the heretic declare 
falsely, but the release of the Queen of Scots, and the conveying her into 
France ' (p. 183). He was in prison before the plot was disclosed, and had 
no opportunity for revising his impressions in the light of the disclosures 
then made. I have occasionally condensed or revised the translation 
from the original Latin text. 

1 In reality he was only twenty-five. 


conspirators. He accepted the leadership at the request 
of others, and his idea of leading was to insist on ' lingering.' 
In the end he showed an undignified resentment against 
Ballard for having induced him to undertake the part of 
a traitor. 

There is no trace of his having been infatuated with 
Mary Stuart. It was love of religion and of country which 
inspired him. But youth, wealth, inexperience, and over- 
confidence in his considerable gifts, made him the sort 
of prey on whom Morgan and Walsingham, with their 
respective adherents, were only too anxious to fasten 
their talons. 

2. Babington and Ballard. 

Here is Babington' s account of Ballard' s visit to him, 
some sentences of which were quoted in the last chapter : 

* About the end of May last, as I remember, there came unto 
me at London, at my lodgings in Herne's Rents, one Ballard 
a man whom I had known before his departure into France. 
He told me he was returned on this occasion. Being with 
Mendoza he was informed that in regard of the injuries done 
by our State unto the greatest Christian Princes by the 
nourishing of sedition and division in their provinces [that is 
in France and Flanders], by withholding violently the lawful 
possession of some [as in Zeeland] by the invasion of the 
[Western] Indies, by piracy and robbery of treasure, and 
other wrongs, intolerable for so great and mighty princes 
to endure it was resolved by the Catholic League to seek 
redress and satisfaction. This they had vowed to perform 
this summer without further delay, having in readiness such 
forces and warlike preparations, the like was never seen in 
these parts of Christendom. 

' The Pope was the chief disposer, the Most Christian King, 
and the King Catholic, with all other Princes of the League, 
concurred as instruments for the righting of their wrongs, and 
for the reformation of religion.' 

[Later on Babington says that ' Ballard from the mouth of 


Mendoza swore that September would not pass without an 

' The conductors of this enterprise, for the French nation 
would be the Duke of Guise or his brother the Duke of Maine. 
For the Italian and Hispanish forces, the Prince of Parma ; 
the whole number about 60,000. 

' And hereupon he had come over to inform thus much and 
to sound the catholics of the land, for the assisting in this 
enterprise and for the preservation of their possessions, upon 
which the stranger would enter by right of conquest, without 
sparing any, in case they did not declare themselves with the 
performers ' (below, p. 52). 

We have already commented, in the last chapter, on 
the extraordinary changes which had passed overMendoza's 
message, as it passed through Ballard's fanatic brain ; 
changes of which Babington too felt a certain suspicion, 
which is reflected in his story, and more plainly still in 
his answer. On the whole, nevertheless, he accepted 
Ballard's message, and even in his last confessions we find 
him repeatedly returning to it. Like a child he believed 
it good as well as true. 

To Ballard's grandiose proposition, this was Babington' s 
philosophic answer : 

' I told him, I held the Princes so busy with home affairs, 
as I thought they would not intend the invasion of this country 
until their own were settled, whereof there was little expectation 
as yet. And if they would invade, I could not conceive from 
whence they would have so many men, or means to transport 
them. Further, that I held their assistance on this side small, 
notwithstanding the excommunication (which either was or 
should be revived) 1 so long as her Majesty doth live, the 
State being so well settled.' 

Then at last came the sting in the tail. 

' He answered, that difficulty would be taken away by means 
already laid : and that her life would be no hindrance herein. 

1 A popular error (see above, Section I. 2). 


He told me the instrument was Savage, who had vowed the 
performance, and some others, whose names he told not, neither 
was I inquisitive. As I guess [George] Gifford, and one in 
court near Sir Walter Raleigh. And so we departed for that 
time ' (below, p. 54). 

The infamous temptation had found an entrance. 
Babington was a lost man. 

3. Consultations. 

Babington had not yet cqnsented ; but he had listened, 
hesitated, and begun to believe. His old happy easy-going 
days were over. He became restless and care-worn, and 
in this he was not alone. Babington' s story continues : 

* Soon after Mr. Salisbury, Mr. Tichburn, and Mr. Barnewell 
inquired what I thought therein.' 

Evidently Ballard had approached them, as he had 
approached their friend Babington, and the four proceeded 
to debate the whole subject in approved academic forms. 
Babington began : 

' I told them that we seemed to stand in a dilemma. On the 
one side lest the magistrates here might take away our lives 
by massacre (as has reasonably enough been feared) or by the 
laws already made, by means whereof, there is no catholic 
whose life is not in their hands. On the other side lest the 
stranger should invade and sack our country, and bring it 
into subjection. Betwixt which two dangers hanging, we 
discoursed much of both. 

* In the reformation (i.e. revolution) we found conclusion 
(termination) of our dishonour and of the desolation of our 
country : in the delay thereof extreme hazard. 

' Books had lately been imprinted to show, that all Catholics 
were traitors, that it was not possible for a papist to be a good 
subject : which opinion holden, must needs ensure us of their 
desire of our extirpation. 

Any man may judge what spurs desperate perils be, to 
prick forward men to perpetrate anything, to adventure their 


delivery from such extreme terms, or at least to free their 
country and their fellows in faith by deaths holden honourable. 
And likewise (any may see) in what danger the state doth stand, 
in which remain an infinite number of men in the same terms, 
and by consequence of the same minds. Whom either utterly 
to root out, or by some easy toleration to hold better content 
seemed to be expedient for the security of the State. That 
any toleration would ever be admitted, was despaired. Extir- 
pation, therefore, was to be looked for upon the first assurance 
of any occasion, as might seem sufficient to excuse the fact 
somewhat abroad, and to hold satisfied the multitude at home. 

' Thus we discoursed : in fine for a conclusion I told Mr. 
Salisbury I thought it the best course to depart the realm, 
with licence, if it were possible ; if not, without. 

'This also because of the danger of civil war or invasion 
among the many competitors, who might arise if the Queen's 
Majesty were taken away. As for the Queen of Scots, she was 
in great danger at that day, and being old and sickly must soon 
be succeeded by her son, whom we distrusted. Which sorrowful 
considerations moved a conclusion to depart the realm, in which 
intention we left each other for that time ' (below, p. 56). 

4. John Savage. 

The next to be drawn in was John Savage, whose earlier 
career has already been sketched. It will be remembered 
that at the persuasion of Gilbert, and perhaps of William 
Gifford, he had joined in George Gifford's conspiracy in 
the year 1585, and had admitted Ballard to his secrets 
about March 1586. 

According to the speech of the Queen's Counsel at 
Savage's trial, ' Ballard sent to Savage to speak to him 
on Lambeth side. He then told Savage of Babington's 
practice, and brought him to Babington, who was not 
friends with Savage before.' 1 

The original indictment gives the same story, but with 
different details. Here Savage goes to conspire with 

1 State Trials (1730), i. 125. 


Ballard on the 30th of May, and on the 31st he receives 
three letters of encouragement in his plot from Morgan, 
Dr. William, and from Gilbert Gifford. 

From Savage's subsequent statements, 1 it seems that 
in these letters (if not earlier) he was told that Allen highly 
approved of his plot ; and he was also told that Persons 
had praised George Gifford' s plot. But in any case the 
statements of these three correspondents, who were all 
in the faction against Allen and Persons, was insufficient 
evidence, and we also know from other sources, 2 that 
Allen strongly condemned the plot. 

Savage, probably quite ignorant of Allen's real mind, 
at once consented to join Babington, and, as we shall see, 
gave up his own plans to* adopt those of Babington, which, 
however, were so far very vague indeed. 

All this, be it observed, is quite in Savage's manner. 
He will undertake any plotting put before him with the 
most obliging promptitude : but he never does anything. 
These three letters must have passed through Phelippes's 
hands, but he also does nothing. Gilbert Gifford was 
actually one of the writers. If then both he and Phelippes 
knew, we may be certain that Walsingham knew also. 
And still nothing happens ! We must therefore conclude 
that they considered the danger to Elizabeth as altogether 
negligible. The way for the conspirators was still being 
made comfortable and easy for them. 

5. Gilbert Gifford and the Conspirators, 7 June. 

It has been mentioned that Gilbert was to have received 
a packet of letters from the ' honest man ' at Burton on 
the 4th of June. He may then have started for town on 

1 The Record Office copy, Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 38, gives n or 15 
August. The British Museum copy, Caligula, C. ix. f. 29, has 17 August. 
See Boyd, pp. 611, 68 1. 

2 R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, ccxlii. p. 258, statement by James Younger. 


the 5th, and have been there on the 7th. The government 
story of what happened on that day is told in the Indict- 
ment. This must be cited in full, yet not without a caution. 
To say nothing of popular errors about the Papal League, 
there is also here (it seems) an error of fact, that Gilbert 
and Ballard plotted in company, whereas in fact, as will 
presently appear, they did not meet till July. The truth 
is that they were plotting simultaneously but separately. 

6. Counts in the Indictment on the treasons committed 
on 7 June. 

ALSO the aforesaid John Ballard and Gilbert Gifford for the 
fulfilling and accomplishment of their most wicked and un- 
speakable betrayals and treasons, imaginations, compassings, 
intentions, and proposals, afterwards that is on the seventh 
day of June, in the present year of the said Lady now Queen, 
the 28th, at St. Giles aforesaid, treasonably convened, met 
and came together in order traitorously to confer, treat and 
hold colloquy with the said Anthony Babington, by which 
ways, modes and means they might fulfil and complete their 
treacherous intentions and proposals. 

' AND on the same seventh day at Saint Giles aforesaid, and 
on divers other days and times, before and after, both at St. 
Giles aforesaid as elsewhere in the same county of Middlesex, 
they treacherously held colloquy with the same Anthony, 
about a certain invasion in the realm of England intended and 
prepared by the then Bishop of Rome, with the help of Philip, 
king of the Spains, and of other foreign princes, to be made and 
executed in this present summer. 

' AND they traitorously recounted and declared to the said 
Anthony Babington, that through the aforesaid Bernardine de 
Mendoza and Charles Paget they were required and asked 
that some provision, some course and method should be taken 
and begun within this realm of England to procure help, 
adherence and assistance for the said foreigners and aliens, 
who were to invade this realm. Moreover for procuring some 
means by which the said Mary, late Queen of Scots, could be 
delivered from custody and set free. 


' UPON this the said John Ballard, Gilbert Gifford and 
Anthony Babington afterwards on the seventh day of the said 
June, in the aforesaid twenty-eighth year of our said lady the 
Queen now, at St. Giles aforesaid, treasonably, feloniously, and 
wickedly, fixed, concluded, and absolutely resolved, mutually, 
one to the other, that they could not effectuate and complete 
this except by the killing and final destruction of our said 
lady the now Queen, their supreme and natural lady. 

UPON this the said Anthony Babington on the same seventh 
day of June at St. Giles aforesaid, and at divers other days 
and times before and after, both at St. Giles aforesaid, as else- 
where in the said county of Middlesex, feloniously, wickedly, 
and treasonably devised, consented, and concluded, with the 
said John Ballard and Gilbert Gifford that our aforesaid lady 
Elizabeth, now Queen of England, their supreme and natural 
lady, should be most wickedly, unspeakably and treacherously 
killed, and that the said Mary late Queen of Scots, treasonably 
and by force should be torn away and delivered from the afore- 
said custody, and that the auxiliaries, and assistencies and 
reliefs, both for the deliverance of the said Mary, late Queen of 
Scots, as for the said foreigners and aliens enemies of our said 
lady the present Queen and as it is said, about to invade this 
realm of England as enemies, should be received, and provided 
for. And that all these things should be done and effected 
simultaneously, as it were in the same instant time, and 
together.' 1 

Extraordinarily cumbersome as the legal style is, it was 
necessary to quote the passage in full, in order that it 
may clearly appear that the government originally wished 
it to be believed, that Gilbert was among the plotters 
from the first. But later on Gilbert's name was entirely 
omitted from the corresponding passage published in the 

1 The original Latin is written in words so much abbreviated, that the 
five paragraphs above occupy less than seven lines, which however are 
very long. There are no paragraphs, and no punctuation in the MS. 
The official summary is given immediately. The original is membrane 18, 
in Pouch xlviii. of the Baga de Secretis, for Elizabeth, at the Record Office. 
It was found ' a true bill,' on 7 September, but proceedings had begun 
on the 5th. 



State Trials. The two following parallel passages tell 
their own story. 

Abstract of the original indictment Declaration of the Indictment by 
quoted above, printed in the 'Fourth Sandys, Clerk of the Crown, from 
Report of the Deputy Keeper of the ' State Trials' (1730, i. p. 123). 
Public Records,' 1843, p. 276 ; Re- 
ferences to Gifford are here italicised. 

AND that Ballard and Gilbert AND Thou, the said John Ballard, 

Gifford afterwards, to wit, 7 June, the 7th day of June in the 28th 

28 Elizabeth at St. Giles', had a year at St. Giles, didst go to have 

discourse with Bahington how they speech and confer with the said 

should fulfil their treacherous in- Anthony Babington, by what means 

tentions, and conferred with him and ways your false, traitorous, 

concerning the invasion intended imagined practices might be brought 

and prepared by the then Bishop of to pass. 
Rome, with the aid of Philip, king 
of Spain, and other foreign Princes : 

AND that they treacherously told AND that Thou the said John 
and declared to Babington that . . . Ballard didst oftentimes declare of 
Mendoza and Paget had required an Army of the Pope and the king 
aid and assistance to the invaders, of Spain for to invade this realm ; 
as also for the delivery of Mary late and didst also declare that Paget 
Queen of Scots. and Mendoza required them the said 

Babington, Savage, etc., to procure 
means how this realm of England 
might be invaded. 

WHEREUPON Ballard, Gilbert AND that there Thou, the said 

Gifford and Babington, 7 June, 28 Anthony Babington didst say the 

Elizabeth, at St. Giles' ; resolved same could not be brought to pass 

that this could not be done except without the murder of the Queen's 

by the destruction of the Queen. most excellent Majesty. 

AND Babington on the same day AND afterwards, that is to say the 
traitorously agreed with the other seventh day of June at St Giles, 
two, that the Queen should be slain, Thou the said Anthony Babington 
the late Queen of Scots delivered by didst falsely, horribly, and traitor- 
force, from her imprisonment, and ously and devilishly conspire to kill 
help raised ... . and that all things the Queen's most excellent Majesty, 
should be done simultaneously. and for to deliver the said Mary 

Queen of Scots, out of the custody 
wherein she was, and how to bring 
foreign enemies for to invade the 


What can be clearer from these two columns, both in- 
spired by the same government, than that it at first wished 
to emphasise this charge against Gilbert, but afterwards 
deliberately omitted his name. This will be found to 
agree exactly with the story we have to tell. Whilst the 
indictment was being drawn up, Gilbert had fled the 
country, and the government had reason enough to dread 
lest he should turn upon them. Then his letters, protest- 
ing fidelity to his principals, came in ; and Walsingham 
recognised that he might still be confided in. So Mr. 
Secretary took up a middle position. He would not alter 
the indictment (which would have caused comment), but 
he sent word (28 August) to Gilbert to ' be content that 
we speak evil of him' and the Queen's counsel were 
evidently instructed not to urge the charges against him 
(below, p. 119). Keeping these facts in view, there is no 
mystery in the double form of these papers. 

Of the two government statements, the second, which 
deliberately omits Gilbert's name, is plainly political and 
valueless. But is the first reliable ? To some extent it 
is supported by other evidence. Babington's statements 
show that Gilbert had conspired with him, before he left, 
about the 20th of July, for France. 1 Savage's confessions 
show that Gilbert had also conspired with him, sending 
him three letters of encouragement, 2 and all the conspira- 
tors, including Ballard, seem to have felt quite sure of his 
privity and co-operation. 3 With this evidence before them 
the government might well enough indict their agent 
provocateur, and they obtained a verdict as a matter of 

1 See below, p. 116. 

2 Savage describes these letters in his confessions of 15 and of 17 
August. He gives 31 May as the date of their receipt (i.e. less than a week 
from 7 June). Of their bearing he says, ' All which letters were to 
encourage Savage to proceed in that action as honourable and meritorious.' 
Boyd, viii. 612, 681. 3 See below, p. 106. 


Yet none of these three heads actually proves that 
Gilbert did sit in conclave with the whole band on the 
7th of June, and in particular we shall hear him tell 
Walsingham on the llth of July that he had never met 
Ballard before that day. 1 As it is not so likely that he 
would then have lied to Walsingham, we must assume as 
our working hypothesis, that they had not met before. 
Though he was already in the confidence of Babington 
and of Savage, he had not apparently gained knowledge 
of their whole project, nor of all their associates. Nor is 
there any ground for wonder in this ; for no definite plans 
had yet been formed by Babington, and the enrolling 
of conspirators was only beginning. 

As to the conspirators, there is no authentic roll of them. 
But by the 7th of June, at the meetings in Babington' s 
rooms when the general resolution was taken of putting 
Mary on the throne with the aid of the So-called Catholic 
League they counted, according to the government list, 
thirteen, including Gilbert. This list may be given here 
in full, though most of those who joined later were not 
conspirators in any usual sense of the word. 

1. John Ballard, late of London, clerk. 

2. Edward Wyndsore, late of Brandenham, Bucks., Esquire. 

3. Anthony Babyngton, late of Dethycke, in the county of 

Derby, Esquire. 

4. John Savage, late of London, Gentleman. 

5. Thomas Salysburye, late of Llewenny, Denbigh, Esquire. 

6. Edward Abyngton, late of Henlyppe, Worcester, Esquire. 

7. Chidiock Tychborne, late of Porchester, county South- 

ampton, Gentleman. 

8. Charles Tylney, late of London, Esquire. 

9. Robert Barnewell, late of London, Gentleman. 

10. Edward Jones, late of Cadogan, Denbigh, Esquire. 

11. John Traves, late of Prescott, Lancashire, Gentleman. 

12. Henry Dunne, late of London, Gentleman. 

1 See below, p. 105. 


13. Gilbert Gifford, late of London, Gentleman. 
On the 27th of July two more joined 

14. Sir Thomas Gerrard, late of Wynwicke, Lanes., Knight. 

15. John Charnock, late of London, Gentleman. 
On the 12th of August 

16. Elizabeth (sic) Bellamy, late of Harrow on the Hyll, 

widow. (A second indictment follows calling her 
4 Katherine '). 

17. Jerome Bellamy, of Harrow on the Hyll, Gentleman. 

18. Robert Gage, late of London, Gentleman. 1 

Of these some had consented or ' vowed ' 2 to take part ; 
but no definite plans were yet formed. Savage indeed 
affected to consider his original plans valid until their 
place was taken by others ; but nobody ever seemed to 
think of reducing his proposals to practice. 

6. Gilbert and Ballard leave London, 6 or 7 June. 

The two conspirators who were more deeply in earnest, 
Gilbert and Ballard, now left town. The reasons for 
Ballard' s departure are perfectly clear. Mendoza and 
Paget had treated his previous plottings as mere ' general- 
ities.' They told him to find out definitely who would 
rise and who would not. So he started off immediately 
on this quest. The traitorous Bernard Mawde still rode 
at his side. Father Robert Southwell in his Supplication 
to the Queen gives us an incident or two of this journey. 
For instance, that Mawde had procured (doubtless through 
Walsingham) ' a commission to take horses.' Presumably 

1 Fourth Report of the Deputy Keeper, p. 276. 

2 Babington's Confessions, viii. p. 92, ' denied that he was sworn unto the 
Scottish Queen, but vowed his service by his letter (and never before), 
but limited and restrained with his dutie and allegiance to the Queen's 
Majestic.' On the other hand, on p. 93, he wrote, ' Such of the gentlemen 
aforenamed, as were to undertake the action against her Majesty, did vow 
and promise to perform it. After signification of assurance from the 
Scottish Queen, this examinate meant they should have received the 
sacrament upon it.' 


that was a privilege granted to those who c rode post,' to 
commandeer a change of horses, when their own beasts 
were tired. This would have given Mawde a certain 
authority, and might well make Ballard glad of his com- 
pany. The second incident is that Mawde had procured 
a letter to the ' Lord Admiral of Scotland.' This might 
act as a sort of passport with English searchers and 

In spite of his advantages, however, Mawde does not 
seem to have made any discoveries of importance. But 
he undoubtedly -fomented the plot. Edward Windsor 
afterwards said that at a time when he had resolved to 
break with Ballard and all his works, Mawde talked him 
round again and persuaded him to continue. 1 Similar 
things were no doubt done elsewhere. 

On the whole then we are not justified in suspecting 
that Mawde was responsible for much in the development 
of the plot. Nevertheless his presence in the company of 
Ballard served as safeguard, and this helps to explain why 
nobody, except Elizabeth, was alarmed about the con- 
spiracy. Her own officials were helping it on with vigour. 
Gilbert Gifford almost immediately after the meetings of 
the 5th and 7th of June went back to Paris, 2 and on the 10th 
Barnes took down Mary's post to Chartley. We have no 
written explanation of Gilbert's journey, but it fits in well 
enough with what went before. It was quite natural, 
from Walsingham's point of view, to send him to Paris. 
For there the plot had been first laid, there too Morgan 
lived, and Mendoza, from whom the most valuable secrets 
might be elicited. On the other hand, from Babington's 
point of view the journey to Paris would have entirely 

1 R.O., Domestic Elizabeth, cci. no. 50, 30 May 1587. 

2 Gilbert is said to have written to Phelippes on the nth, but nothing 
is now known about this letter. It subsequently fell into the hands of 
Gilbert's enemies (Addenda Calendar, p. 227; below, p. 127). 


commended itself, because he desired to know the opinion 
of catholic divines upon the lawfulness of their project. 
When Gilbert returned without any such opinion, Babing- 
ton was vexed, and sent him back again to get it. Thus, 
though one might have imagined that Gilbert's first task 
would have been to procure all the information possible 
from the conspirators in England, the reasons for going to 
Paris were also strong. 

In point of fact, though Gilbert haunted Morgan, and 
got money out of him, he seems to have obtained little 
news. Morgan was inclined to be prudent, and would not 
open up about 4 the matter in question ' ; though he 
4 promised that in time he should know all.' x In regard 
to Ballard, however, Morgan distinctly warned Gilbert to 
be ' discreet,' and ' to give him as little honour as may be 
in the face of the world,' though ' his credit should be 
preserved for many causes, as you know.' This is exactly 
the same line that Morgan was taking at this period with 
Mary herself. 2 

Gilbert's countermove was to spend his week in Paris 
(about 14 to 21 June) working with Grately in the hurried 
production of a MS. book against the Jesuits. It had 
nothing directly to do with the plot, but it was a veil to 
prevent his (Gilbert's) part in the plot from becoming too 
clear to Grately and Morgan. It will be remembered that 
Gifford had explained his favourable reception by Wal- 
singham, by saying that the Secretary was won over by 
Gilbert's declaration of hostility to the Jesuits. So also 
Grately, consumed with the desire of obtaining a favour 
like Gilbert's, now offered their common work as a token 
which Walsingham would perhaps highly prize. The real 
reason for Gilbert's going and coming was entirely shrouded 

1 These are Gilbert's phrases. Morris, p. 220 ; or Boyd, p. 517. 

2 Compare Morgan to Mary, 24 June/4 July, and to Gifford, 9/19 July ; 
in Boyd, pp. 467, 515. 


from the eyes of his intimates by this ruse. To carry a 
libel like this was important enough in the minds of 
Morgan and Grately to explain anything. 

The book is lost ; it was never published, and it did no 
great harm to those against whom it was composed. But 
against those who wrote it, it reacted very unfavourably 
indeed, as the sequel will show. 

The most striking epitome of this journey of Gilbert's 
to Paris and back, is in his confession of 1588 : 

' In truth, for my part, all this was done, that I might bring 
to a conclusion that business about the assassination of the 
Queen of England, which was then in hand, and many gentle- 
men had conspired for that purpose.' l 

Gilbert was soon back. On the 26th of June/6 July, 
the French ambassador wrote to Mary that l the gentleman 
who serves you ' (i.e. Gilbert) is back in London, and so 
he sends ttys letter. She answered that he had promised 
to be back at Chartley before the end of June. 2 On the 
29th Poulet speaks of c your friend at his coming,' as if 
he were expected immediately. 3 

8. Babington's Activities. 

After Gifford started for Paris, Babington's principal 
undertakings had been the following. On the 8th of June 
he had sworn Salisbury to raise a revolt in Denbigh, while 
on the 9th and 10th he discussed with Savage further 
particulars of the assassination. On the 10th Barnewell, 

1 ' Consensimus omnes ut (liber) traderetur, erat enim ille praetextus 
ultimi mei redditus in Angliam. Revera autem ex parte mea totum hoc 
ideo erat factum, ut negotium illud de interficienda Regina conficerem, 
quod tune agebatur, et nobiles complurimi in id conjurassent.' Hatfield 
Calendar, iii. 348. 

2 Compare Boyd, p. 472, and Labanoff, vi. 428. 

3 Morris, p. 213. 


Tichborne, and Tilney were in conference, on the 13th 
Salisbury and Jones discussed plans for the Welsh rising. 
On the 22nd, Windsor, Abington and Dunne met with 
Babington and Ballard. 1 

Without laying too much stress on the accuracy of 
these dates from the indictment, we may assume that they 
represent roughly the chief meetings of the conspirators. 
Babington we see acting as leader, though he had not yet 
definitely accepted the post. It may be that Ballard was 
still to visit some person of title, and ask him to lead. This 
matter was not settled until his return. The only subject 
agreed upon was the acceptance of the visionary foreign 
aid. No one of them doubted that it was allowable to use 
such aid, for the ' reformation ' of the ills they laboured 
under. Then there was the difficult question of how they 
should deal with Elizabeth. Savage, as has been explained, 
had, under Gilbert's persuasions, undertaken or ' vowed ' 
to assassinate her. This plan had been rejected by Bab- 
ington c at the first knowledge thereof ' (p. 57). But the 
suggestion put forward in its place, had also (it seems) been 
one of assassination, with this difference, that it was to be 
carried out by six instead of by one. But this proposal 
also was only tentative. Even the names of ' the six ' 
were never settled. The plan was not agreed to by all, 
nor was it even known by every one of the conspirators. 
Then Abington, on the 22nd perhaps, proposed ' the sur- 
prise of the Queen's person/ and to carry her off to some 
' strength,' apparently to Kenilworth Castle, and to 
appoint catholic ministers. 

The discussion of such plans was exactly suited to 
Babington' s temperament, and the debates were long 
continued. The other conspirators grew impatient, but 

1 Ballard's name seems wrongly inserted here, as he did not complete 
his northern tour till about 8 July. 


Babington kept to ' lingering ' as a sort of policy. 1 ' They 
still cried out of my delays, as a thing tending to discovery. 
I excused it with the expectation of Gilbert's return, 
whereupon I did affirm something to be done.' 2 

As a practical measure Babington proposed the obtaining 
of a licence to travel abroad. At first sight this may seem 
like mere cowardice, but it is not to be so interpreted. 
The petition gave him an excuse for keeping in town, for 
having his friends about him, for raising money and the 
like. If the plan offered a good way of retreat, it might 
also be of use in providing an occasion of attack. 

The necessary licence to travel had to be granted by 
the Queen herself, and Babington had applied for one, at 
an earlier date, through Sir Edward Fitton. 3 He now 
had recourse to Robert Poley. We have already heard of 
Poley in the year 1585, wh^n he was in the service of 
Christopher Blount, and had come over to Paris to get the 
confidence of Morgan. Since then he had entered the 
service of Lady Sidney, Sir Philip's wife and Walsingham's 
daughter, and he was in the position to gain favours of 
many sorts. Father Weston has left us a good picture of 
the man. 

' He (Poley) held one of the smaller offices in court, and had 
obtained some familiarity with Secretary Walsingham, whom 
he served in the quality of a spy, being quick-witted by 
nature and ingenious in deceiving, and he had, according to 
report, received large sums from the Secretary. Having 
contrived to insinuate himself into the intimate acquaintance 
of the chief catholics, who resided about London, he would 
often receive them in his own house, and at a table handsomelv 

1 Tilney during the trial said, ' Babington forsooth will be a statesman ; 
when, God knows, he is a man of no gravity.' State Trials, 130, ii. 

2 Babington 's Confessions, i. 8, p. 60. The last words again prove that 
Gilbert must have been in the plot before he crossed the sea. 

3 Babington's Confessions, i. i. For Sir Edward Fitton see D.A'.B. 
Also the trial of the conspirators. 


supplied. Through this familiarity, he gained the reputation 
of a worthy man, both honourable and devout, and he was 
often admitted to be present at Mass, the Sacraments and 
exhortations. He knew exactly how to behave himself and 
came to them without a shadow of suspicion. 

' Having by his catholic demeanour and friendship with good 
men acquired a high character, he tried to avail himself of it 
to fasten himself upon me, and to obtain more familiarity 
than I was anxious for. In short, he made me so many pro- 
mises and was so obsequious in his manner, that it made me 
sniff, as at something that did not please. For instance, his 
house, his room, his keys, his coffers would all be open to me, 
and might be used by me. Whether he were at home or 
absent, he would make arrangements, that in any time of peril 
or difficulty whatever, I should always find a refuge , in his 
house. If I desired to send letters or money to any place 
beyond the seas, he never had any doubt but that he could 
help on my purpose, and send them from any harbour or any 
port of the sea-coast. 

' Now I knew that the possibility of any such promises was 
beyond the reach of good or sincere catholics. It is not possible 
for them to venture to make such offers, or to give such aid, 
where all around was so disturbed and hostile. I began there- 
fore to avoid him by degrees and to see as little of him as pos- 
sible. Even this did not appear absolutely safe ; for I could 
not long escape him, and his expostulation on account of my 
altered behaviour. It became clear to me, that he felt himself 
offended in no small degree. The marks of his affection began 
to cool. I am not able to state what he afterwards attempted 
against me, but rumour reported that he was the man who 
betrayed me.' * 

Babington knew in general that Poley was a man dis- 
trusted by catholics, 2 but he did not know him personally, 

1 Morris, Troubles, ii. 169. Weston's arrest was really due to accident. 

2 ' Master Poley ' is mentioned in Leicester's Commonwealth, written in 
1584 (ed. 1642, p. 86) in a way that is meant to be uncomplimentary, 
viz. as one of the Leicester faction, but no specific charge is advanced 
against him. Babington even told his new friend that ' All men in 
England being catholics had me [Poley] in general in vehement suspicion.' 
(Poley' s Confession, Boyd, p. 597.^ 


until he approached him c about the middle of June last,' 
to obtain a licence for travelling. Poley procured him 
an interview with Walsingham at Greenwich towards the 
end of June ; Babington made ' general offers of service ' 
to which Walsingham replied with ' many honourable 
speeches.' J Walsingham knew well from Gilbert, perhaps 
also from Mawde and from Mary's letter bags, 2 that 
Babington was conspiring against the government, and 
his ' honourable speeches ' therefore were only a diplo- 
matic mask. Yet it was not his main object to lure the 
luckless youth to ruin. It would have suited him far 
better to have made Babington confess. Mary's death, 
not Babington' s, was his prime object. 

As the matter remained unsettled, Poley saw Wal- 
singham at Barn Elms in the beginning of July, and 
asked for a second interview. When granting this favour 
Walsingham changed his tone a little, complaining to 
Poley that Babington, though ' offering service,' was 
' close and spare in opening himself, and the means of 
his offered service,' and that perhaps he had better see 
the Queen herself and speak openly to her. 

When he heard this Babington seemed ' most glad,' 
says Poley. He came to Walsingham (about 3 July), 3 
but after all ' opened himself no further than before.' 
Walsingham ' did not discourage him at all,' and told him 
'he would procure his access to her Majesty.' But in 
private he told Poley that ' he had more and more reason 
to suspect him,' because of his closeness. A third inter- 
view followed about the 13th of July. 

1 Babington's Confessions, and Boyd, p. 595. 

2 At all events Walsingham had forwarded to her Morgan's letter of 
29 April/9 May, recommending correspondence with Babington. In fact, 
Mary answered that letter on 25 June, which was also probably the day 
of Babington's interview. But this note had not yet reached the secretary. 

3 Poley at first described this as having taken place on 13 July. In 
the margin he adds that this is eight or ten days too late. Boyd, p. 596. 


It would seem that Babington was now perhaps buoying 
himself up with hopes. Walsingham had questioned him 
twice, without (so Babington thought) guessing his real 
mind. And again he fancied that Poley's obsequiousness 
was true friendship ; in other words, he imagined that he 
had won over this ruse old courtier. So he began to in- 
dulge with him in philosophic debates, such as those which 
we have heard him carry on with Salisbury and his other 
intimates (below, p. 58). 

* I conferred with Robin Poley, concerning this action, who 
I presume hath discovered that part long since. I proposed 
unto him three courses, in any of which he vowed to follow 
me before he knew what they were. 

* I told him I disliked of the course holden with Mr. Secretary 
both by him and me, for we stood indifferent 1 betwixt the 
two states and not very sincere unto either. 

c Methought it was better either : 

' (1) To dedicate ourselves to the preservation of this from 
all practices dangerous to the Queen's person or the state : 
and this I presumed, by reason of my credit with the catholics 
here and elsewhere, did lie expressly in my power ; 

* (2) or otherwise to the subversion of the present ; 

* (3) or lastly, to leave the service of both, and to dedicate 
ourselves to a contemplative life, leaving the practice of all 
matter of estate. 

* He, with an indifferent conscience swore upon his salvation 
to follow me and my fortunes in any of these direct contrary 
courses that I should undertake, and asked me which I liked 

* I told him the contemplative life. So should we bear no 
blame of any or either party, and spend our time there [abroad] 
in security, with profit in study, whilst this state stood. And 
after, if it pleased God to send a good world, we might take 
the fruit of other men's labours, exempted from the danger 
accompanying the change. 

* He held the course to depart the realm best for any particular 
[i.e. for our personal advantages], but added withal that he 

1 I.e. evenly balanced. 


had ever found me to reckon little of my particular, in question 
of any common good. No doubt either of the two courses 
were better (if it could be advised) than the preservation of 
the present estate with the hazard of the other : this he allowed 
not. It rested then to embrace of necessity the last [of these 
two], which he did willingly, in appearance. 

' And hereupon I persevered therein, who otherwise, if he had 
so advised, had departed the realm with these other gentlemen 
my adherents. But being by extreme fortune denied means 
to travel, and persuaded by this man and Ballard that this 
course was best, I still entertained the practice, but with such 
extreme delays as might well betray the repugnance which was 
in my nature, and the dislike which I had of this fact, by means 
whereof no doubt her Majesty's life was preserved. 

' Ballard oftentimes reproved my slowness, and told Henry 
Dunne that he doubted I would discover it to the Queen 
herself, unto whom he heard I should be brought. And this 
no doubt I had done, if I might have had assured hope or 
pardon for the rest, whom I loved so much, that I could not 
endure to discover it to their overthrow. 

'Thus lingering, as no man of resolved malice could have 
done in a case so extreme dangerous ; we debated obiter (to 
entertain the time and their expectations) of many practices. 
They still cried out of my delay, as a thing tending to the 
discovery thereof. I excused it with the expectation of Gilbert 
Gifford's return, upon which I did affirm something to be done, 

Here again Babington is describing himself to the life ; 
a lover of his friends, a philosopher, a man whose ideals 
lay rather in the realm of thought than in the active life. 
The hypocritical Poley too is vividly pictured. He is ready 
to swear fidelity, before he knows what the alternatives are : 
and then adroitly argues in favour of conspiracy. 

There is yet another contemporary account of those days, 
well worth comparing with that of Babington that con- 
tained in the memoirs of Father Weston, who looks on the 
whole affair in a very different light. 1 

1 Morris, Troubles, ii. 184. In these memoirs Father Weston makes 
two mistakes. The initiative in arranging the meetings may possibly have 


' In the course of a few days (Babington) was sent for to pay a 
visit to Walsingham, who put him many questions concerning 
the Queen of Scots, and after a severe expostulation, informed 
him that he was himself aware of his most secret designs, and 
that it was in his power to disclose many secrets if he chose. 
He said that he knew as a certain fact that letters had passed 
and repassed between him and the Queen ; and after divers 
threatening words, he charged him to cultivate affection for 
his own country, and the fidelity of a subject towards his own 

' How the other defended himself, I cannot tell, but he did 
so as well as he was able. Finally Walsingham dismissed him 
full of trouble, as I conceive, and very thoughtful and dis- 
turbed with fear as to the result. 

' After an interval of a few days he was sent for again. Wal- 
singham once more went over his former discourse, but with 
greater gentleness and words calculated to soften his feelings 
. . . saying for his part, he was ready to bring him under the 
notice of the Queen and to obtain for him a personal interview. 
Then stretching out his hand he added : " Come now ; act 
with confidence, and do not fear to speak out freely." 

' All these particulars Babington narrated to me with his own 
lips, and profound was my sorrow when I heard him. I knew 
full well what a master in the art of deception this Walsingham 
was, and how powerful to accomplish what his mind was set 
upon. I therefore answered that he (Babington) might as 
well put out of his mind all idea of travel. " It will not be soon 
or easily that this affair will be brought to an issue. I cannot 
tell you in what manner you can escape out of his snares. 
If you yield, you give up your religion ; if you decline his offers, 

come from Walsingham indirectly, but Weston's precise statement that 
Babington was ' sent for,' cannot be supported. 

Again Walsingham cannot at once have told Babington that he knew 
of his correspondence with Mary, because Babington did not write to her 
till after his second interview. But Walsingham may have so spoken at 
the third interview, 13 July. He may also have warned Babington 
against plotting. 

It is pertinent to refer here again to Elizabeth's words spoken to the 
French ambassador, when the secret correspondence first began, that 
she knew everything that took place in England. That hint, too, was not 
understood (above, p. Ixiv.) 


you inevitably incur the peril of death. If you waver between 
the two, you will still risk your life, and lose your reputation 
among catholics." 

* Babington replied, " No one who has ever known me will 
suspect my Catholicism, even if I do use a little liberty in 
speaking and acting." 

* I answered : " No one doubts that you are a catholic and will 
always be one. But if ever you say words or attempt actions, 
which catholics would be ashamed to suggest even to their 
most trusted and intimate friends, you will find it impossible 
to escape suspicion or to avoid disgrace." 

'This was my last conversation with Anthony Babington. 
I never saw him more. 

Even if I had had the opportunity of seeing him I should 
have abstained. Not that I feared for himself or for anything 
he might do, for in his religion he was always the best and 
bravest of young men. Nor did I imagine that Walsingham 
would ever be able to lead him astray in any matter that 
would be dishonourable to a catholic. 1 But it was clear to 
my mind that I could not preserve intimacy with men of his 
description, and still maintain the principles of our Institute 
in their purity. It requires us to partake in such matters only 
as may concern religion, withholding ourselves from political 
affairs. This would be in the present case impossible, for he 
would be driven to consult me frequently and to impart to me 
much information.' 

Father Weston here takes a view of his duties which 
may seem formal and strained, when judged by ordinary 
modern practice. It must be remembered, however, that 
he was writing for his fellow-religious, to whom his ascetical 
principles and rules were familiar. Babington evidently 
had secrets, and Weston saw danger. He did not see how 
he could help ; so he held off and thereby saved life and 
reputation. His words are in any case instructive as a 
contrast to those of Gilbert Gifford, who was perpetually 
asking Walsingham to induce Dr. William, his cousin, to 

1 Weston, we see, did not imagine the power for evil of clerics like 
Ballard and Gilbert Gifford. 


come over, on the score c that he would be very much 
employed [i.e. in advising whether this or that course or 
measure were morally right] and that the Doctor could 
keep no secret from him.' 

To sum up a most critical chapter. 

1. The plot was commenced by Ballard coming from 
abroad, commended by Morgan to Babington, whom he 
makes acquainted with Savage. The conspiracy, i.e. the 
resolution to put Mary on the throne, was formed 7 June, 
and Gilbert heard in general of these still undeveloped 
proposals about the same time. He then went abroad to 
get all the information he could from Morgan, and then, 
14/24 June, returned to bring the plot to a head, and was 
back in London 26 June/6 July. 

2. Babington, after admitting conspirators up to the 
number of thirteen, arranged some method in their plans, 
e.g. the murder by the six gentlemen was settled, though 
the names of the six were never agreed upon. But he 
soon tired of this, adopted a more or less deliberate policy 
of lingering,' and confined his efforts to obtaining a licence 
to travel. For this purpose he had three interviews, 
25 June, 3 and 13 July, with Walsingham, who endeavoured 
to win him over in order to ruin Mary. But Babington 
did not betray his knowledge of the conspiracy, and he 
did not suspect the meaning of Walsingham' s hints. 


1. Why she wrote. 

During the months of March, April, and May, Mary 
acknowledged the receipt of 4 an infinite number of old 
packets, being the mass which had been accumulating at 


the French embassy for the last two or more years. 
Amongst these arrived a letter from M. de Fontenay, 
dated con jectur ally 1 August 1585, which still lies among 
her letters at the Record Office. 1 In this de Fontenay 
informs her that he had sent her a despatch from Scotland 
with the news of what he had done, in January 1585. This 
had been carried by ' le Sieur Anthony Rolston,' to within 
two leagues of Wingfield, where Mary was then confined, 
and had been left at the house of ' le Sieur Anthonie 
Babington.' Babington was then at London, c en parle- 
ment ' (i.e. at the law-courts) ; but his servant had 
promised 4 that the master would cause it to be delivered 
to her Majesty as soon as he returned from town.' 

The suggestion which this letter gave, that Mary should 
communicate with Babington, was not long after enforced 
by another old letter, written by Morgan in July 1585, 
which reached Mary on the 10/20 of May 1586. 2 Morgan 
was then endeavouring, though rather despairingly, to 
move Babington to enter anew into the Queen of Scot's 
service, and ' put his helping hand to further her intelli- 
gence, which he is well able to do, having many friends 
and kinsfolk in the parts where her Majesty liveth.' 

These two letters having lain on her table for over a 
month (20 May to 25 June) seem to be quite sufficient to 
account for the following letter from Mary to Babington 
on the 25th of June. 3 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xvi. 24^, 25. Another copy at Hatfield, 
printed almost in full, Calendar, p. 117. In passing it may be mentioned 
that this letter contains strong evidence of the divisions among Mary's 

2 Hatfield Calendar, iii. p. 103. In extenso in Murdin, p. 453. These 
give the day as the 25th. But Curll in the postscript to Mary's letter of 
' 20 May ' (Labanoff, vii. p. 328 ; Boyd, p. 392) gives the day as 6 July. 
The letters, which arrived ' 20 May,' were carried by Barnes. 

3 Below, p. 15. The text is a re-decipher of Phelippes's copy of the 
original cipher. In this sense the text is a new one. 

Morgan had sent to Mary a long draft letter, to be used in writing to 
Babington (R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 58, in Boyd, p. 345), dated 


* I have understood that, upon the ceasing of our intelligence, 
there were addressed unto you from France [i.e. from Morgan] 
and Scotland [i.e. from de Fontenay] some packets for me. I 
pray you, if any have come to your hands, and be yet in place, 
to deliver them unto the bearer hereof, who will make them 
to be safe convoyed to me.' 


2. The Letter in the Post. 

There is no sort of mystery here, great though the 
consequences of the letter were to be. It was, in the ordi- 
nary course, put into cipher by Curll on the 25th of June 
(O.S.), which style was used in Mary's household, and also 
in her correspondence when she was writing to those who 
followed that computation. An accompanying note from 
Curll to the bearer Barnes was written at the same time. 
The main object was to warn him to be ready to receive 
what I have called ' The Second Post ' on Sunday, July 
3/13. Then it went on (below, p. 14) : 

' In the mean season, her Majesty prayeth you to send your 
foot-boy as closely [i.e. secretly] as you can with these two 
little enclosed bills ; the one to Master Anthonie Babington 
dwelling most in Derbyshire, at a house of his within two miles 
of Winkfield ; as I doubt not but you know, for that in this 
shire he hath many friends and kinsmen. 

* The other bill, without any mark or superscription, to one 
Richard Hurt, mercer, dwelling in Nottingham Towne. 

' Unto neither of the two foresaid personages your said boy 
needeth not to declare whose he is (unless he be already known 
by them with whom he shall have to do), but only to ask answer ; 
and what is given him to bring it to your hands : which her 
Majesty assureth herself you will [do] witk all convenient 

On the 25th of June the three tiny letters were enclosed 
in the box, slipped into the beer keg, and consigned 

29 April/9 May. This, however, was late in arrival. Nau, however, 
the French Secretary, mistakenly thought that Mary followed Morgan's 
draft (Labanoff, vii. 208), and this has led some students astray. 


to the c honest man,' who having conveyed the keg to a 
convenient spot, took out the packet, brought it back, and 
gave it to Sir Amias, according to the method with which 
the reader is familiar. Sir Amias did not think much of it, 
c being so little, as could be nothing answerable to that which 
you expect.' Still he gave it back de more to the brewer, 
who gave it to c the substitute,' who again brought it to 
Sir Amias, who thereupon sent it by post to Walsingham, 
with his letter of the 29th of June, 1 and it should have 
been in Walsingham' s hands on Thursday the 30th. 

This letter of Sir Amias' s is chiefly concerned with 
the rewarding and paying off of intermediaries, especi- 
ally 'the Substitute' (?=Hoby), and eventually also 
of Thomas Barnes, the ' second messenger.' This would 
much simplify the cumbrous series, of checks, so often 
described. When Barnes had been paid off, Phelippes 
would go on using his name, when writing to Curll. 

So far as our immediate purpose is concerned, Phelippes 
already does this. Barnes exerts no personal influence 
whatever on events. He is a mere agent, a name. His 
letters are handed on to Phelippes, who deciphers them, 
and composes answers to them. On the other hand, 
Mary was told quite a long romance about him, viz. that 
'Barnaby' was a cousin of Gilbert Gifford, that he lived in 
Lichfield and had a brother in London, and as both used 
the same cipher the one might be taken as representing 
the other. This is clearly the theory on which Curll wrote 
from this time forwards. Mary, as will be seen from the 
letters on her side, was evidently quite touched by this 
new idea of two brothers acting with one soul in her service. 
But it was all deceit. Phelippes had really been the outside 
correspondent from the first, and from now onwards he 
would keep all in his own hands. On the 7th of July Gilbert 

1 Morris, p. 212. 


pledged himself to ' cut him [Barnes] clear off this course,' * 
and this he seems to have done. 

When Phelippes received the packet, having opened and 
deciphered the accompanying note to Barnes, for which 
he had the key ready, he then proceeded to copy the cipher 
to Babington, upon the back of the decipher, where it 
may still be read. And when he did this, we may take it, 
either that he had not got the key to Babington' s cipher 
in his pocket, or that he wanted to keep a copy of the cipher 
for caution's sake, or else he desired to pass on the note as 
quickly as possible, leaving the deciphering to be done at 

This then looks like desire of speed. Yet the letter did 
not reach Babington till Wednesday the 6th of July (O.S.). 2 
It had therefore remained in Walsingham's office for a 
week. There must have been some strong reason for this 
delay, though we are unable to say definitely what it was. 

3. Elizabeth's Orders and Gilbert's Solicitations. 

Perhaps time was needed to take Elizabeth's orders as 
to what should be done next. There is no doubt that she 
was kept informed of Walsingham's various moves. We 
have heard her tell the French ambassador significantly 
that she knew everything that was being done in England. 
That was in April; when the secret correspondence had 
begun. In June matters were moving much faster. If 
this letter from Mary were given to Babington, it would 
almost certainly bring matters to a head. On such a 
matter Elizabeth's orders would have to be taken afresh : 
and it may well have taken some days to reassure her, and 
to obtain her consent to the continuation of the plot. 

1 Morris, p. 217. 

2 According to the indictment it did not reach him until the 8th, but 
the answer of Babington was in Phelippes's hands before 7 July. Mary 
Queen of Scots, xviii. 32. Labanoff, vii. 191. 


The departure of her court from Greenwich to Richmond, 
which took three days, July 11 to 13, may well be con- 
nected with this discovery, which was by no means a 
pleasant one for the pleasure-loving Queen. 1 

Another reason for delay may have been to allow time 
for Gilbert Gifford to galvanise the conspiracy into fresh 
life. We know that, while Gifford was away, the plot had 
languished : that Babington was deliberately ' lingering,' 
and that he ' excused this ' with the expectation of Gilbert's 
return, ' upon which he did affirm somewhat to be done.' 
Nay, Babington even entertained the thought (though half- 
heartedly) of giving up the whole conspiracy, or at least 
of going abroad. More important still, Babington was 
not without repugnance and doubts as to the lawfulness of 
their plan on various points, and so were others of his 

Deeply interested as Walsingham was in helping the 
conspirators over all their difficulties, he had his agent 
ready to assist them here as elsewhere. Gilbert Gifford 
aimed at no half measures. ' Really on my part all [i.e. 
all that concerned the book against the Jesuits and my 
return in June] was done for this, that I might bring to 
completion the business of the assassination of the Queen 
of England.' 2 

As to this Babington says, ' Gilbert Gifford was before 
this [i.e. before 26 June] come over to Savage, much dis-. 
contented that he left off to execute what he had vowed, 
and that he could not be discharged in conscience upon 

1 Tytler, iv. 130, following Camden, places the communication of the 
secret to Elizabeth a month later. But this is not tenable. Walsingham 
on 3 August wrote, ' I doubt greatly her Majesty hath not used that 
secrecy that appertaineth ' (below, p. 133) This shows that she must 
have known for some time. Since the publication of Poulet's letters, it 
is clear that Elizabeth was constantly informed on all topics. 

2 ' Revera autem ex parte mea totum hoc ideo erat factum, ut negotium 
illud cle interficienda Regina Angliae conficerem.' Hatfield Calendar, iii. 348. 


the pretences [allegations], which I made of [for] his 
discontinuance from persecuting the same : all which he 
heard as mere delays.' ! 

Babington added later, ' Ballard from the mouth of 
Mendoza swore that September could not pass without an 
invasion, Charles Paget confirmed as much, and since 
Gilbert Gifford confirmed the same.' 2 

It is important to take Savage's words together with 
those of Babington. 

* It was said by Gilbert Gifford that the Pope did levy great 
number of men in Italy ... to enter this island. 

' Farther, the said Gilbert Gifford informed me that there was 
an Englishman with the Prince of Parma, who is to inform the 
Earl of Leicester. . . . But all is as well to cut the throats of 
my Lord's forces as his own. . . . 

* Touching the intended invasion of the Spanish and the 
French aforesaid, it is certain, as well by the speeches of Gilbert 
Gifford, as also by the letters of Morgan, that the French would 
not attempt to invade, before such time as either the Catholics 
had taken away her Majesty, or else might be almost certainly 
assured that the Queen of Scots could be and should be de- 
livered. . . . But for the Spaniard ... if none of these before- 
mentioned things chance, they shall be in England, said Gifford, 
before Michaelmas day.' 3 

Babington describes himself as annoyed at Gilbert's 
considering that such wild and unsupported statements as 
the above were a sufficient justification for the revival 
of Savage's old plans. This discontent became vocal a 
little later. 

It is clear, therefore, that provocation to conspire was 
exerted by Walsingham's agents in the strongest way 

1 Babington's Confessions, p. 60. Savage is here again represented as a 
good-natured lump, who can be turned any way. 

2 Below, p. 84. A letter from Paget of this tenor is at p. xcv. above. It 
would have arrived early in June. Gilbert may have confirmed it on 
7 June, but much more probably after the 26th. 

3 Savage's Confession, 15 August 1586, B.M., Caligula, C. ix. 290 ; R.O., 
Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 41 ; Boyd, p. 611. 


just at this crisis : and the delay before handing in Mary's 
letter, all things considered, made that provocation much 
more effective. About the 4th to the 6th of July, Gilbert 
went down to Chartley, and about the same time Mary's 
letter was handed to Babington (though the indictment, 
it would seem mistakenly, put this on the 8th). 

4. Mary's Letter received and answered (? 4 to 6 July). 

Here is Babington' s full and frank confession of its 
receipt and of his answer : 

* 1. I received by a boy unknown to me, letters in cipher, 
signifying her Majesty's discontentment for the breach of 
intelligence, and requiring me to send by that bearer, as I did, 
certain letters which I had received from Thomas Morgan in 
April (as I remember) last past, directed unto her. These 
letters I was earnestly entreated to convey unto her, but did 
not seek the means, only I kept them in safety. . . . 

' 9. Having means to send to the Queen of Scots by the boy 
that came with her pacquet, I writ unto her touching every 
particular of this plot. . . . 11. The tenour of it was that 
Ballard coming from Mendoza had informed me of the purpose 
of the Christian princes touching this country. 

* That I was desirous to do her some service therein for her 
delivery. If there were assurance on the other side of such 
things as were necessary to this exploit, that there would not 
fail of correspondence on this side. [Ibid., 3.] 

' That there were six would undertake somewhat upon the 
Queen's person. [Ibid., 8. Wording differs.] 

' That myself with six [sic for ten] others would undertake 
her delivery. [Ibid., 7.] 

* That there were ports to be sounded [sic for appointed] for 
the landing of forces, and assistance sufficient within to join 
those without. [Ibid., 4, c. d.] 

'That rewards were necessary to be promised to the chief 
actors for their better encouragement, and to be given to their 
posterities, if they miscarry in the execution.' 1 [Ibid., 9.] 

1 See Babington's Confessions, below, pp. 51-64, the full text of Babing- 
ton's letter at pp. 18-22. As it is important to notice the accuracy with 


The chief point to be considered in this letter is, of 
course, the intimation, which it gives to Queen Mary, of 
the proposed dispatch of Elizabeth. Whatever doubts 
may have in the past been raised by Lingard and others 
regarding Babington's letter, this evidence from his own 
Confessions is alone sufficient to establish the main course 
of our narrative. A discussion of other views, which 
have been put forward about possible interpolations, is 
given below at pp. 31-33. 

Next let us notice that Babington's letter to Mary has 
no intrinsic connection with the letter from her. She had 
asked him to forward letters. He sends her a full plan 
of campaign. 

It is indeed strange that a man, not very much used 
to writing in cipher, could have got this whole letter 
written, ciphered, and sent off during one day, having 
previously deciphered the letter from Mary. This lends 
a certain verisimilitude to a conjecture of Nau's l that 
Babington had written to Mary before she wrote to him. 
And so it may well have been. Babington had long ago 
received both from Mary and from Morgan an invitation 
to forward letters to her, as well as a cipher code, in which 
to write himself. What wonder if, when his difficulties 
became serious, he had sketched out a letter, and had 
already put it into cipher, when, by good or evil 
fortune, Phelippes's c unknown boy ' arrived with Mary's 

In a postscript at the end of his letter Babington added 
a question to Nau asking Mary's opinion of Poley. 

which Babington quotes, about 18 August, the letters written about 6 July, 
cross-references have been added to Babington's letter. Babington's 
condensation of the text will be found to be very well done ; but the 
tone has been very very much modified. For the ' round and ready ' 
tone of the original, see Babington's Confessions, p. 91. 
1 Labanoff, vii. 209 ; Boyd, ix. 6. 


5. Babington s Answer on its Way. 

The note was now handed to the ' unknown boy,' who 
after we know not what devices, to make sure he was not 
followed, delivered the letter at Phelippes's house, and it 
was soon deciphered, and discussed with Walsingham. 
The Secretary's orders were at once given, though we 
know but one particular of them, that Phelippes was him- 
self to take down Babington's letter to Chartley. For 
Babington had thrown out the hint that he would be 
at Lichfield on the 12th of July to receive Mary's answer. 
Now if that answer had to be taken to London and back, 
280 to 300 miles, the delay in transit might have created 
suspicion, for it was only about fifteen miles from Chartley 
to Lichfield. By going down, however, Phelippes could 
copy or decipher the answer, which Mary would send to 
Babington, as soon as it reached Sir Amias's hands. 
Phelippes therefore left London on the 7th of July, as 
usual under the cover of night. 1 

Before this, Gilbert Gifford, having revived the con- 
spiracy, as above seen, had been down to Chartley, from 
the 4th to the 6th of July. His object was the old one, 
to see if his dishonest intermediaries were faithful to their 
employers, and also (probably) to prepare the way for 
the paying off of as many of them as possible. Meantime 
he picked up ' Post II.' of 2/12 July, which would probably 
have been carried out from Chartley by the brewer on the 
3rd, and which may have got to Gilbert's hands by the 
6th. At the same time 2 he heard that Barnes had re- 
turned to town the week before. Hereupon Gilbert 
resolved to follow him on the 7th, giving the packet to 
Sir Amias for transportation. 

1 Phelippes to Walsingham, 7 July, Labanoff, vii. 191 ; also July 8, 
Morris, p. 218. 

2 Morris, p. 217. 


Next day Sir Amias's courier, riding up to town, met 
Phelippes on his way down, between Stanford and Shilton. 
Phelippes thereupon stopped the courier, and took from 
him Mary's packet, which he carried back to Chartley 
next day. For there he would have had leisure to decipher 
the secret letters, and to seal up the packet again, while he 
awaited the writing of Mary's answer. 1 

Phelippes arrived at Chartley on the 9th, and as the 
brewer came next day, the 10th of July, Phelippes wrote 
the deceitful covering note to Curll, 2 saying that ' his 
brother ' had received this packet, which Babington said 
' required great haste,' and therefore ' the boy returned 
without staying for any dispatch from the French ambas- 
sador.' This was now sent in with Babington' s note. 

On the 14th Phelippes and Poulet wrote to give accounts 
of its passage in. ' It was thankfully [!] received with 
such answer given by writing as the shortness of the time 
would permit, and with promise to answer more at length, 
at the return of the honest man, which will be within three 
days.' 3 During these days Phelippes had copied out the 
ciphers, which were in ' Post II.,' and had deciphered one 
of them. He had also deciphered the billet from Nau to 
Babington. This first acknowledged the arrival of the 
packet, and then prudently refused to give credit to Poley, 
of whom the Queen of Scots had indeed heard praise, but 
had seen nothing to warrant her recommending him. 

Phelippes' s note of the 14th of July contained the 
expressive words : ' We attend her very heart at the next,' 

1 The stretch of road from Stanford to Shilton runs not far from the 
L.N.W. railway line after leaving Rugby, a little over 90 miles from 
London. It had taken Phelippes 24 hours to ride this, and he was vexed 
with his bad progress. He had hoped to have done the whole 141 miles 
to Chartley in that time. Morris, p. 218, erroneously read the two local 
names as Stilton and Stamford. 

2 Barnaby to Curll, 10/20 July, below, p. 17. 

3 Morris, pp. 223-5. 


that is, We expect an answer before our deceptions can 
be dispelled. 

Ah, if she could but have had in attendance such 
councillors as a queen would normally have had ! If 
she had but been free from the exasperating annoyances 
of imprisonment ! If she had but known the truth ! 

6. Reading the Letter, 10 July. 

Meantime what was taking place within Mary's apart- 
ments ? Striking indeed was the contrast between the 
knight's hall and the deposed Queen's little cabinet. In 
the one sat the knight and the decipherer, congratulat- 
ing one another on the good success of their half year of 
prolonged and laborious deception, and eagerly counting 
the minutes before the answer to Babington is finished. 
In another part of the house was a little study, where, 
under an old canopy, the sickly but great-hearted woman 
sat at the head of the table, at which Nau and Curll, her 
secretaries, are busy deciphering the little billets just 
received. Curll, grave old Scotsman that he is, becomes 
more and more animated and uneasy as he gradually draws 
out into plain writing Babington' s extraordinary offer. 
He hands it to Nau, who reads it, also with signs of dis- 
approval. Nau passes it on to the Queen, who goes through 
it with the closest attention. 

Evidently a crisis is at hand. One thing, they think 
clear. The catholics of England, powerless though they 
might be to upset heretical tyranny, were most certainly 
able to bring about a crisis, the consequences of which 
were not easy to foresee. ' If this attempt be made and 
fails,' said the Queen the words find their place in her 
final letter ' it were sufficient cause given to that Queen, 
to enclose me for ever in some hole, forth of which I should 
never escape, if she did use me no worse ; and to pursue 


with all extremity those that had assisted me, which would 
grieve me more than all the unhap that might fall upon 

Nau advised her to leave the letter unanswered. 1 It 
was Mary's general policy to decline with thanks the plans 
occasionally made for her liberation by private individuals. 
The Master of Gray and Hugh Owen had both received civil 
but distinct refusals within the last few months. But 
this case was evidently not that of a single private indi- 
vidual, and Mary's heart was at that moment yearning 
with more than ordinary vehemence for rights and liberty. 
She had till lately hoped that her son would procure her 
some measure of freedom. But he too had failed her. 
He had pusillanimously surrendered to the English faction, 
and for a miserable pension had accepted dependence, and 
surrounded himself with her foes. The coming years, all- 
important for the formation of his character, seemed black 
even to despair. Mary would not agree to put aside the 
letter, and the matter was left for further consideration. 

So well aware was Mary of danger from Poulet, that 
she recognised that no locks of hers were safe from his 
violence ; and she was therefore accustomed to hide the 
more important ciphers she received upon her own person. 2 
Did she put Babington's letter into her bosom, when her 
conference with her secretaries ended ? Whether she did 
or not, its specious offer had already won entrance into 
her heart. 

When Poulet retired to bless the Almighty for prosper- 
ing the work against the woman he hated, to his prejudiced 
mind right and wrong had changed places. 

The soul of Phelippes is harder to read. Facile, sharp, 

1 Nau to Elizabeth, 10 September 1586. Labanoff, vii. 205. R.O., 
Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 

2 So Nau, Memorial of 1605, B.M., Caligula, B. v. 233. 


and unscrupulous was this child of bourgeois parents. 
Trickery and deception now came to him naturally. He 
met Mary in her drive, and immediately put on a smiling 
countenance, but said in his heart, ' sicut ab hoste cave.' 1 
Mary was disquieted. What did that ' slender-figured 
man, eated in the face with small-pockes, of short-sight, 
with dark yellow hair and light yellow beard ' portend ? 
She endeavoured by her servants, and even by herself, to 
sound his mind, but all in vain. Morgan had assured her 
he was a friend whom she might trust. He disappeared 
the day before the ' honest man ' was to carry off her 
' third post.' Still she did not suspect, and actually wrote 
to Morgan to ask him if he could explain ! 

Poulet's sternness melted towards the skimpy, pock- 
marked plebeian. He had used him as a decipherer 
years before ; and in the sacred work of bringing his 
prisoner to the block he became quite maudlin over this 
' old good friend.' He c cannot thank (Walsingham) 
enough ' for sending him down. Together they passed 
the three days not unhappily, with little doubt of the 
result. They were not mistaken. 

7. Mary decides, 11 July. 

If Mary hesitated for the first moment, her mind was 
firm by the next day. ' Elle s'est laissee aller, a 1' accepter,' 
says Nau. 2 She had decided to accept the situation offered 
by Babington. Not that there was ever any indication 
that she distinctly or formally desired the assassination 
of the English Queen. Mary's person had been thrice 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 48, Morris, p. 223, Boyd, p. 523. In 
Mr. Thorpe's Calendar, we find : ' He (Phelippes) had a smiling countenance 
from her.' The editor should have explained that the two last words were 
his own addition. One must not say that this meaning is impossible, but 
it is not the obvious meaning of the words. 

2 Labanoff, vii. 205. 


restrained of liberty ; her son James had been as often 
seized upon by force. Babington's followers, moreover, 
at all events a number of them, understood the plan to be 
for the restraint of the English Queen, and not for her 
death. If Mary should have taken the same view, that 
cannot be considered at all wonderful. 

However, even if she thought Babington's words spelt 
assassination and nothing else, there is no word of hers 
to show that she approves of political murder. The con- 
trast between her letter and Babington's is marked. 

Babington had conjured her to use her authority to 
assure the conspirators honourable reward. We know 
from Ballard's words to Gifford that this was one of the 
vital points of the letter. 1 After stating that six 
gentlemen would make an attempt on the Queen's person, 
Babington wrote in his letter ( ix.). 'It rests that, accord- 
ing to their infinite good deserts and Your Majesty's bounty, 
their heroical attempts may be honourably rewarded in 
them (if they escape with life) or in their posterity, and 
that so much I may be able, by your Majesty's authority 
to assure them.' 

Mary's answer does not confirm this request. Though 
she is asked to pledge ' her authority to assure them that 
they shall be rewarded ' for the attempt on Queen Elizabeth 
(and the promise of future reward certainly involves an 
approbation of the deed which is to be rewarded), Mary's 
answer is : 

(a) ' To yourself in particular I refer, to assure the 
gentlemen above mentioned [and she has been speaking 
both of the six and of others] (b) of all that shall be requisite 
on my part for the entire execution of their good wills.' 
And again at the end ( xvii.) : ' I do and will think 
myself obliged, as long as I live, towards you (c) for the 

1 Below, p. 107. 


offers you make to hazard yourself as you do for my delivery, 
and by any means that ever I may have, (d) I shall do my 
endeavour to recompense by effects your deserts herein.' 
Or we may put it in this way. 

(a) Asked to give her Royal authority she tells 
Babington to use his own. 

(b) Asked to reward, after the event, the six gentlemen 
for the attempt on life, she always avoids this : but in a 
parallel passage she promises that she will not be wanting 
in her part of the enterprise, and her part had nothing to 
do with assassination. 

(c) Finally that she will reward all those who assist as 
much as she can ; (yet not for assassination), but for 
helping her to escape. 1 

But whatever force we attach to this formal with- 
holding of assent to the assassination in detail, she never- 
theless materially does consent to the plan as a whole. 

The whole tone of her answer is that of gratitude and 
approval. The clauses in which she holds back or evades, 
are so blended with those in which she fully agrees, that 
excited and impatient readers would not wait to weigh her 
restrictions. Babington was not expected to do so, nor 
did he. 

If the assassination was a crime, Mary was not free 
from guilt. If it was not a crime, but an inevitable 
incident in the struggle for liberty, Mary was free from 
blame. That was the reason uppermost in her mind. 
She considered herself an independent sovereign : with 
every right to recover her liberty, if necessary by an act 
of war ; and not bound to interfere between the English 
Queen and her subjects. This, without doubt, was for 
her the determining factor in the situation. 

Let us take the similar case of Mendoza after the dis- 

1 This matter is discussed in greater detail below, at pp. 33-35. 


covery of the plot. He had been told by Ballard of the 
intentions of Savage and George Gifford, and of this he 
had actually sent word to Idiaquez, and to Philip. He 
had also heard from Gilbert about the Babington plot ; 
and had wished (though too late) to encourage the con- 
spirators. Later, when the plot had been discovered, 
and while he was being angrily charged by the English 
ministers with having encouraged and indeed with having 
4 conducted ' the conspiracy, he wrote again (10 Sept- 
ember). 1 He declared that ' of course he would omit no 
act of war against those who had begun war against Spain : 
but that, as to assassination, he had never advised any of 
her subjects to conspire against her life, she being their 
sovereign and a woman.' 

It is not my object here to defend Mendoza. I am 
dealing with his point of view only, with his describing 
himself as having 'never advised any of her subjects to 
conspire against her life.' If Mendoza is sure that Philip 
will see that view, and be satisfied with it, can we wonder 
that Mary should have taken an almost exactly similar 
view of her duty and of her execution of it ? 

Liberty and her rights were the objects for which Mary 
strove. She was ready to lose her life in that struggle. 
Why should she forbear lest Elizabeth should lose hers ? 
She would accept Babington' s offer, and do all in her 
power to make it a success. 

The chief need was that of foreign help. Without that 
any attempt would be madness. It was of the first 
necessity therefore that some one should go abroad and 
bargain with Mendoza for the most exact and faithful 
engagements of help. When the day of its proximate 
arrival drew near, the attempt on the Queen's person 

1 Spanish Calendar, p. 623. The original Spanish, which is not in 
Documentos Injditos, is much to be desired. 



should be made, and of this instant word was to be sent 
to Chartley, before warning could come to her keeper. 
The house should be attacked, and she carried off to some 
strong place of momentary safety, until foreign forces 
could interpose, and give such encouragement and assist- 
ance to the English catholics as would hearten them to 
seize the direction of the kingdom. 

8. Writing her Answer, 11 July. 

Mary came down to the second day's conference with 
her secretaries, having some headings on these topics 
already sketched out in her own hand. 1 Mary made Nau 
read Babington's letter aloud again, in the presence of 
Curll, and ' then the Scottish Queen directed Nau to draw 
up an answer to the same letter, the which Nau drew in 
French.' 2 Nau explains that it was Mary's habit to take 
her letters ' de point en point,' and to explain the answer 
to be made to each, Nau writing down, making notes 
' aussi particulierement et amplement que je puis faire.' 
Then he read his notes aloud, or showed them, and next 
he threw these notes into the form of a connected letter, 
after which he again showed and delivered them for her 
to decide upon. ' Her Majesty does not allow any letters 
of importance or secret notes to be written outside her 
" Cabinet," nor is any letter sealed except in her presence, 
and she always reads the lettej-s anew before they are put 

1 Nau wrote on 3 September of Mary giving him ' une minute de la 
lettre escripte de sa main pour la polir et mectre au net ' (Mary Queen of 
Scots, xix. 77, 78; Boyd, p. 665). On 5 September he speaks first of, 
' une minute de la main de sa Maieste, comme j 'ai depose ' : and later on he 
says it was ' pour la plus part escripte de sa main ' (Mary Queen of Scots, 
xix. 89, 90; Boyd, p. 680). This minute, however, appears not to have 
been found later. It would have been of supreme value to establish the 
text of Mary's letter of 17 July. But bullied and fed-up with false informa- 
tion, Nau and Curll at last became confused and unreliable. Below, p. cxc. 

2 B.M., Caligula, C. ix. 378, below, p. 142. 


into cipher, or translated, which was Curll's department, 
and the same is true of her letter to Babington.' 

Curll's examination states, that when Nau had read to 
the Queen the French minute, ' the Scottish Queen willed 
this examinate to put it in English, which this examinate 
did accordingly. And when he had so done, this examinate 
did read the same so Englished unto Mr. Nau. Which 
done the Scottish Queen willed this examinate to put the 
same letter so Englished into cipher, which this examinate 
did.' ! 

Mary's plan depended chiefly on help from Spain, and 
she at once decided to write by the same post (though in 
the event the letters went a few days later) to her represen- 
tatives at Paris to approach Mendoza, and learn for certain 
when the Spanish auxiliaries might be expected. So she 
would at once have communicated with Charles Paget, 
who had first written to her about Ballard, as well as with 
Mendoza and her ambassador the Archbishop of Glasgow. 
To ensure consistency in these letters Nau wrote a few 
headings : 

Secours de dehors. 

Forces dans le pays. 

Armee d'Espagne au retour des Indes. 

Armee de France en mesme temps, si la paix se fait. 

Guise, s'il ne passe, tiendra la France occupee. 

De Flandre, de [? le] mesme. 

Escosse au mesme temps. 

Irlande ainsy. 


Sortie. 2 

1 Nau especially notes (5 September, Mary Queen of Seals, xix. 90) 
that the suggestion about firing barns was hers ; also the order of the plan, 
beginning with the application to the Spanish ambassador in France, to 
ask for support, and going on to her liberation from Chartley as soon as 
support was at hand. 

2 See p. 140. 


Nau says that he composed letters to the Archbishop of 
Glasgow, to Mendoza, and to Charles Paget with these 
headings before him. But, as Lingard says, this cannot 
be considered an adequate explanation of them, for none 
of the letters indicated are written strictly on these lines, 
though they all have recollections of them. 

4 Curll delivered the letters first written in French by 
the Scottish Queen unto the same Queen again, and did 
put that which himself had Englished into cipher by the 
Scottish Queen's commandment, and that which was 
Englished [i.e. his English translation] this examinate did 
put into a trunk that was in the Scottish Queen's cabinet 
under lock and key.' 1 

Thus was the fatal packet completed. The letters to 
Paget, Englefield, and Mendoza were all intended to assist 
in procuring aid from abroad, without which Mary recog- 
nised that the attempt for freedom must be in vain. Had 
not her yearning for liberty impaired the balance of her 
mind ; had not her long retirement, and her recent entire 
estrangement from politics weakened her otherwise strong 
powers of judgment, she might have known beforehand 
how altogether vain and illusory was the support, on which 
she now leant. There seems little doubt that she actually 

1 B.M., Caligula, C. ix. 382. It appears from Nau's later paper (B.M., 
Caligula, B. v. 233) that Mrs. Curll kept the key, and that Nau thought 
too much was preserved. He thought Mary trusted too much to her 
friends about the court, believing that they would warn her in case her 
coffers were to be searched. 

In the Hardwicke Papers, ii. p. 237-50, there is a paper entitled, 
Evidence against the Queen of Scots. It is a popular ' report/ a vulgarised 
statement, not copied precisely from documents, and in this the official 
document, just quoted, is misrepresented as follows : ' He saith also, she 
willed him to burn the English copy of the letters sent to Babington.' 
This alteration is made in order to make this deposition agree with the 
erroneous account there given at pp. 249-50 of the proceedings on 24 
October, in which Curll is said to have affirmed that ' as well the letter 
which B[abington] did write as the drafts of her answer to the same were 
both burnt at her command.' See p. 147 below. 


gave some credence to Babington's wild representations 
4 of great preparations by the Christian princes for the 
deliverance of our people ' ; an idea which that unsophis- 
ticated philosopher had first accepted from the fanatically 
sanguine Ballard, and had then seriously vouched for to 
her, relying on the fraudulent representation of Gilbert 

If allowance can be made for these fatal misconceptions, 
Mary's letters are otherwise admirable state papers ; sane 
and well arranged, conciliatory, inspiring, confident. 

To Paget she writes that he and the emissary from 
Babington are to^urge Mendoza to espouse the new enter- 
prise, while Mendoza and Englefield are urged with simple 
but very telling arguments to bring the Spanish king to 
the point of immediate action. 

Everything a woman in her position could do was done. 
On Sunday the 17 /27th of July the fatal letter was sent 
out with a note to ' Barnaby ' (really Phelippes). 1 

* To make this enclosed surely delivered in the hands of 
Anthony Babington, if he be come down to you in the country. 
Otherwise that it be kept still in your or your brother's keeping 
until Babington his arrival, or for an ten days, within which 
time her Majesty intendeth to have a packet ready to be sent 
unto the French ambassador by your boy.' 

In effect, for some reasons not mentioned, Post III., 
i.e. the packet of letters to go abroad, was retained another 
ten days. But on Monday (18/28 July) in the short 
darkness of a midsummer night the letter to Babington 
was lodged in Phelippes's hands, and by the Tuesday 
Phelippes had copied and sent it up to Walsingham, with 
j j (the gallow's mark) on the outside. 2 

Pious Poulet ' was wonderfully comforted by these 

1 Below, p. 25. 

8 Walsingham to Phelippes, 22 July, Morris, p. 245. 


discoveries ' ; l but Mary was fast in the snare. It was 
now only a question of policy, how and when the coup de 
grace should be given. 


1. Bollard and Gifford. 

Phelippes on the 2nd of August wrote to ask Walsingham 
4 whether Babington is to be apprehended, or otherwise 
played with.' 

' Or otherwise played with.' These words really sum 
up the section that now opens. Not that Walsingham 
wished to spend a month playing like a cat with a mouse. 
His object was to discover whether there were any more 
confederates, and to leave time for an answer to Mary's 
letter. When this had been done, and Chateauneuf had 
written his letter of 5/15 August, the signal was given for 
a general arrest ; and then only at Elizabeth's orders. 
Walsingham was not alarmed. He knew there was no 
danger. It was only a question of securing victims and 
evidence. Phelippes was much more excited and would 
have struck sooner. Elizabeth was genuinely afraid, but 
still left Walsingham a fairly free hand. 

Even our oldest historians argued from Walsingham' s 
preparations, that he must have been pre-iiiformed ; 
though they never knew how. Early in June he had 
begun new measures for clearing the prisons, and in July 
something even more novel and drastic was attempted. 
The apostate spy Berden, whom we met above in section II., 
was made a sort of commissioner for advising what degree 
of severity, and what of mercy should be meted out to each 

1 Morris, p. 235. 


imprisoned catholic a proceeding thoroughly character- 
istic of the Tudor tyranny. 1 

The poet, Father Southwell, in his Supplication to Her 
Majesty, 1591, tells this story, probably about Martin 
Aray, a priest who was to have been banished at this time. 

' How privy Sir Francis was ... to the certain period of 
the time wherein all his endeavours would come to the full 
point, may be gathered by this. Being by a priest, that was 
to be banished, sued unto for 20 days' respite to despatch his 
business first repeating the number and then pausing a while 
with himself " No," saith he, " you shall have but 14. For 
if I should grant you any more, it would be to your hindrance ; 
as you shall hear hereafter." Herein he said true : for much 
about that time was public notice taken of Babington's matter, 
. . . infinite houses searched, and all men's eyes filled with 
such a smoke, as though the whole realm had been on fire ; 
whereas in truth it was but the hissing of a few green twigs, 
of their own kindling ; which they might without any such 
uproars have quenched with a handful of water.' 2 

The clue to the conduct of the conspirators at this crisis 
is, that they never knew or suspected their real danger, 
viz. that Gilbert had been a traitor before they began to 
plot : so that Walsingham had known everything from 
the first. We shall find Babington gradually nerving 
himself for a partial revelation, which he regarded as a sure 
means of escape, at least for himself, and Ballard too had 
similar dreams. But Walsingham would not even see 

The position at the time Mary posted her fatal letter 
(17 July) was this. All the conspirators were in London 
and in great suspense. Their leaders felt they had gone 

1 The papers are printed in Catholic Record Society, ii. 241-56. 

2 Southwell, Robert, S.J., An Humble Supplication to Her Majesty, 1595. 
Really printed in 1602. B.M., 3935, aa, 33. Of course it does not follow 
that the plot was due to Walsingham's ' endeavours,' merely because he 
knew that Babington's intrigue must come to a head in a fortnight. But 
it does show that Walsingham knew more than he was willing to divulge. 


very far, and now that so many people knew their secret, 
it would be impossible to stop. Babington was falling 
more and more under the sway of Robert Poley, while 
Ballard, who is said at the trial to have returned to town 
shortly after Babington' s note to Mary of the 6th July, 
came under the observation of Gilbert Gifford. 

We left Ballard in the North accompanied by the spy 
Mawde. His business was to find the exact number of 
those who could be counted upon to rise ; and the results 
of his inquiries are only known to us through the reports 
of conversations given in the next section. From the 
conspirator's point of view, the results were most dis- 
appointing. After passing through Lancashire, and pos- 
sibly even Northumberland, they parted. Ballard turned 
South, meaning eventually to go on and report to Mendoza. 
Mawde crossed into Scotland to deliver his letter to the 
Lord Admiral. At Edinburgh, however, he found that 
he was short of money, and that Father Holt was gone ; 
so he turned, and went back to his native Yorkshire, from 
whence he wrote under his old alias., Montalto, to Burghley 
or Walsingham on the 1st of August. 1 

By that time the conspirators knew of his treason, and 
this makes us turn to his letter with interest, which is, 
however, soon disappointed. Though cringing, and offer- 
ing himself for any work, it contains no news beyond the 
details of his journey given above. Curiously enough 
there is a letter from Walsingham to Elizabeth written the 
day before which explains this lack of news. He tells her 
that Mawde ' seemeth not to stand in any sound concert 
with him [Ballard], though he was content for the serving 
of his turn to use him.' That is, Ballard had been ready 

1 R.O., Scotland, xli. 2. B. Montalte (not ' Bontalte ' as in Thorpe's 
Calendar), i August, Boyd, viii. p. 579. The hand is the same as that 
of Mawde's autograph of 1581, in Domestic Elizabeth, civ. 102, allowance 
being made for travel, misfortunes, and perhaps the practice of false hands. 


to use the advantages of Mawde as a riding-companion, 
as Babington had used the comfortable refuge of Poley's 
garden. But real intimacy had followed in the latter case, 
while ' no sound concert ' had ensued in the former. 
Whence we may infer that but few details about the 
conspiracy reached Walsingham through this spy. Still 
there is evidence from John Tipping, and especially from 
Edward Windsor, that Mawde was active in persuading 
waverers to follow Ballard's courses. 1 When Mawde's 
treachery was discovered, as it was later in July, we can 
understand that the conspirators were much alarmed. 

By the 9th of July Ballard has returned to London, 
having made the discovery that the English catholics 
were very far indeed from being ready to rise. But being 
a fanatic, he is unable to look this truth steadily in the 
face, and speaks about it in contradictory terms to 
persons whom he wishes to impress in different ways. 
To Savage, ' best of companions ' 2 and a simple soul, 
whom everybody imposed upon, Ballard said : 

' That he was almost assured of three-score thousand, ready 
to assist him in these parts, only that the greatest part of them 
were altogether unprovided of armour, 3 the which defect was 
promised to be provided out of France.' 

To more discerning conspirators like Gilbert he spoke 
(10 July) very differently : 

' (They) must needs obtain the Queen her hand and seal to 
allow of all that should be practised for her, without which 
we labour in vain ; and these men will not hear us. ... He 

1 Walsingham to Elizabeth, 5 August, 1586, in Tytler, iv. 130 ; and 
less precisely in Boyd, p. 589. Edward Windsor to Hatton, 30 May 1587, 
Domestic Elizabeth, cci. 50. Tipping's Examination, Boyd, p. 696. 

2 Morris, p. 381. 

3 That Ballard said this during this crisis of July is proved by Savage 
adding, ' This going into France had been determined, had he not been 
prevented [i.e. arrested].' Savage, Confession of 15 August, also called 
ii August, Boyd, p. 611. 


complained much of Sir Thomas Tresham, of my cousin 
[Mr. John] Talbot [of Grafton] for not only would they not 
hear him, but threatened to discover him. " And," saith he, 
" unless we obtain that from the Queen, all is but wind." ' J 

To Babington he said : 

4 Those who should be most forward were most slow, and .... 
the older the colder.' 2 

To Dunne and others he said he had heard of 500 more 
then he knew before. This is possibly true, but it probably 
meant but little.^ 

This meeting of Ballard with Gilbert was on Sunday the 
10th of July. 4 On the 12th they met again for the same 
purpose. Gilbert reported to Walsingham that evening 
that Ballard was very angry with Morgan and Paget, 
because they had not yet written ; and that he was half 
inclined to go over to France at once ; but finally he 
agreed to await communications from them. ' It is certain 
he hath determined no certain course ' ; he knew, however, 
that Phelippes had gone down to Chartley, ' with com- 
mission to open and read all letters and packets he met 
with by the way,' also that he had spoken with confidence 
of the beheading of Queen Mary. In fine c the great 
practitioner ' begged Gilbert once more, to get ' approba- 
tion for all his actions ' from the imprisoned Queen, and 
Gilbert promised ' to presume what I could.' 5 

About the 16th there was a third meeting. Letters 
from Morgan had now arrived (written about the 3rd or 

1 Below, p. 107. 

2 Babington's Confessions, below, p. 56. 

3 Boyd, p. 683. 

4 In reporting this meeting to Walsingham, Gilbert represents that this 
is the first time he has seen Ballard. Ballard, on the other hand, was 
already aware of Gilbert's privity to the plot. Morris, p. 220 ; Hosack, ii. 
p. 602. 

5 B.M., Harleian MSS., 286, f. 136. Gilbert Gifford to Walsingham, 
autograph, some words in cipher, unpublished. See below, p. 109. 


4th O.S.) which threw Ballard into feelings akin to despair. 
The conspirator had done his best to move his friends to 
rise, representing that the mobilisation of the invading 
army would be ready as soon as the rising could take place. 
Now he found this impasse. On the one hand, the men 
whom he relied upon refused absolutely to move ; there 
was no chance of their acting the parts he had assigned to 
them without Mary's personal command. On the other 
hand, Morgan (3, 4 July) wanted to prevent all communica- 
tion of catholics with the Queen. Instead of invoking her 
authority, they should rely on his (Morgan's) promises. 
He undertook indeed to bring their needs to the Queen 
in due time ; but he had a poor reputation in the country, 
and his word was hardly more trusted than that of Ballard. 1 

Poor Ballard ! ' With weeping he said he was utterly 
discredited : that thousands would be undone for his sake. 
For he had dealt with many, trusting upon Mendoza and 
Paget. That they sought all honour for themselves, and 
gave him but words.' 

Had he been less excitable, Ballard would surely have 
seen that Morgan had something to say for himself ; and 
that his message was at all events dictated by sincere 
attachment to his mistress. 

Still the Welshman was clearly quite on the wrong line, 
because he conceived the assassination as something 
separate or separable from the rest of the conspiracy : 
while nothing was clearer than that invasion, escape, and 
assassination, or seizure, must be as nearly as possible 
simultaneous. Mary must therefore have some warning, 
and it was ridiculous for Morgan to think that he could 
wield Mary's authority. 

If Ballard' s idea of ' getting Mary's ' approbation of 
' all his actions ' was wildly impracticable, Morgan's idea 

1 B.M., HarleianMS., 360, n. 27. A copy, endorsed 10 September. See 
below, p. 112. 


of warning Mary by means of blood-curdling hints, dropped 
in postscripts to her secretaries, was equally fantastic. 
That, however, was his plan. On the 24th of June, after 
warning Mary that Ballard was employed on something so 
dangerous that she must not know anything about it, he 
added a note to her secretaries : c There are many means 
in hand to remove the beast that troubleth all the world.' 
Again, on June 29th O.S. (9 July N.S.), he wrote to Mary's 
secretaries : ' There are some good members that attend 
opportunity to do the Queen of England a piece of service, 
which I trust will quiet many things, if it shall please God 
to lay his assistance to the course, for which I pray daily.' l 
In truth such letters would seem to be not a whit less 
dangerous than those of Babington, without being of any 
certain use. It is true that less was eventually said about 
Morgan's letters ; but this was because the Babington 
letters were answered, and so formed part of a sequence 
of singular completeness and force. For us, however, 
Morgan's letters must be considered as containing clear 
evidence of his guilt. 

We now return to Gilbert Gifford, whom we left picking 
the brains of the excited Ballard. Eventually the pair 
went off to Babington, who is represented as having 

4 Declared the many dangers and difficulties touching a 
chief man for a head and for authority in this cause. For 
the noblemen would do nothing before they saw some certainty : 
and the rest being all equal, would bring confusion. Morgan 
sought for nothing but honour for himself, but Babington would 
seek honour for them that better deserved it. He himself 
would go [? to Mendoza] and solicit these matters ' (below, 
p. 113). 

From all this Gifford gathered that Babington wanted 

1 Morgan to Mary, June 24/4 July, Boyd, p. 469 ; June 29/9 July, ibid., 
p. 480. 


to be chief himself ; and that Ballard backed him in this 
ambition. Finally Ballard wrote back to Morgan : 

'That his demand was far unreasonable, to request the 
naming of the personages. So too it was to seek all to his 
own hand, being but a servant to the Queen; no more than 
they ' (below, p. 113). 

2. Gilbert flies, 20 July. 

So for all his brave words to Savage, Ballard was evi- 
dently in the utmost uncertainty, and almost in despair 
about the rising, and thereupon the question arose, should 
he go across and report to Mendoza, as he had promised 
to do ; or should he stay and keep the side together ? 
He prepared for the one eventuality by getting Mr. Knight, 
a gentleman of Mr. Vice Chamberlain (Hatton), to procure 
him (about 17 July) a licence to travel abroad, under the 
name of Mr. Thoroughgood, of the Temple, who, it was 
pretended, was 'touched by the death of Best,' and wanted 
to escape the wrath of Sir Christopher Hatton. 1 

Then Ballard changed his mind again ; and two undated 
notes from Gilbert to Walsingham carry on the story. 
The one note says : 

' Ballard hath changed his opinion in going down with me. 
So, if your Honour list to take him, I desire to understand by 
this bearer ' (below, p. 118). 

The other says : 

4 1 purpose immediately after the receipt of your Honour's 
letters, to go down to the country and withal to leave such 

1 Boyd, p. 592, n. n, and p. 532 ; Morris, p. 235. Some blood feud 
between the followers of Hatton and of Walsingham seems here insinuated ; 
but no explanation is at hand. This news about Ballard seems to have 
been sent down by Gilbert to Walsingham and Phelippes about 17 July, 
and Phelippes sent it back to Walsingham on 19 July. Ballard had in 
the meantime obtained the pass. 


means with this bearer for the taking of Ballard that easily 
he shall compass it without any suspicion on my part. 

'He [Ballard] told me this day of his dealing with Rowe 
concerning your Honour. He asked my advice therein. He 
knoweth not what to conceive. 

' I told him that your Honour has showed great courtesy of 
late to Catholics, and that it might be your Honour meant 
friendly, and so he is persuaded. 

' But what your Honour will appoint concerning the man, I 
can execute it ' (below, p. 116). 

In the meantime a certain reaction was setting in 
against the solicitations which Gifford had made at the 
beginning of the month, in order to revive the plot. 
Babington declares that he commissioned him to obtain 
4 from beyond the seas ' answers on the following topics 
from some convenient ' authority.' 

' I told him that I would he should assure us from beyond 
the seas by authority 

' 1. That this action was directly lawful in every part. 

' 2. That there might be assurance given of the readiness of 
all such provision as was required. 

' 3. That some authority were granted for the (advancement) 
of men to dignities and some offices. 

1 4. And to have rewards granted for such as should under- 
take any dangerous attempt. 

' Until all which were done, I advised him to withhold such 
as were employed against the Queen's person, which then were 
Savage, Gifford, and one (as I remember) said to be near Sir 
Walter Raleigh. If he did not, I protested and swore I would 
discover it unto the Queen. 

' This he much disallowed, as Savage told me. He went 
over disliking much my courses. He said he was to pass by 
means of the French ambassador, as a Frenchman' (below, 
p. 61). 

So Babington in his confession. When further inter- 
rogated, he said that the ' authority ' for the third and 
fourth question would have been Queen Mary (below, 


p. 70). The assurance, asked for in the second heading, 
was clearly meant to come from Mendoza. That asked 
for in the first heading should probably have come from 
the Nuncio at Paris, or from Dr. Allen. But to what an 
extraordinary pitch of confusion had not the plans of the 
conspirators come, when Babington at the very last hour 
wants reassurance, and that even as to the lawfulness of 
their undertaking ; and actually asks Gilbert Gifford to 
obtain it ! What more unpractical ? What more certain 
to lead to calamity ? 

We have Gilbert's letter to Walsingham asking per- 
mission to go over and carry out the commission alone 
(see below, p. 114). But how characteristic is that note 
of a restless, traitorous mind ! No names, no dates, no 
definite facts ; and three out of the four quserenda men- 
tioned above are left out. Now that we know the issue, 
we can see that what Gilbert really wants is to get away. 
So he omits references to Babington' s question about the 
permissibility of the enterprise ; and confines himself to 
the second heading, ' Whether the King of Spain intendeth 
anything or not.' May he go, and find out the answer 
to that ? 

For some reason unknown to us, Walsingham never 
answered this. It was perhaps sent by mistake to 
Phelippes at Chartley, and news of it only came round 
to Walsingham too late to be of any importance. The 
commission, however, remained, and so did Gilbert's 
desire to fly, before the catastrophe took place. As to 
this, Chateauneuf's memoir x has something to tell us. 

On the 20th of July Gilbert, accompanied by Savage 
and one other, perhaps Ballard, came to ask at the French 
embassy, if they might send a man with letters to France, 
who might pass as servant to the next special messenger 

1 Labanoff, Lettres de Mane Stuart, vi. 275, end. 


to Paris. As Dujardin was just back from Scotland, they 
were told that their man might ride with him next evening. 

On the 21st Gilbert turned up alone, and said that he 
would go. At this Chateauneuf became suspicious, for 
he regarded the young man as Queen Mary's special 
servant, who ought not to be employed in other business. 
What was the reason of these frequent journeys abroad ? 
Especially let him beware of that busy Mendoza. 

Just at this point, alas ! Chateauneuf 's memoir ends 
abruptly, without telling us how the unscrupulous Gifford 
parried the French jealousy of Spain. But the true 
reason for his departure was confided to Phelippes later 
on. ' The greatest cause of my going away was that I 
feared to be brought to witness some matters concerning 
the Scottish Queen, face to face ' (Boyd, ix. 221). 1 

And why had the fear of Mary's face gripped him at 
that particular moment ? It was because on the 19th of 
July Phelippes had sent up the copy of Mary's fatal letter 
to Babington with the little ' gallows-mark,' | "| on the 
outside. The postman noted it, however, and the news 
came to the conspirators, which, says Walsingham to 
Phelippes on the 22nd of July, ' hath greatly increased 
their suspicion. My friend (i.e. Gilbert) remains still 
here.' 2 But unknown to Mr. Secretary, ' friend ' Gifford 
had fled with Dujardin on the night before. 

3. Poley and Babington. 

Just as there could be no anxiety about Ballard, so long 
as Gifford kept sending in his notes, so there was nothing 
to fear about Babington whilst he was being shadowed 
by Poley. Poley afterwards wrote out a long account of 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xx. n. 45. Gifford to Phelippes, no dale, 
perhaps October 1586. See also below, p. 121. 

2 Morris, p. 245. 


the way he had done this, 1 and some details of his man- 
oeuvres must now be given. The confession is not a very 
exciting or inspiriting document. It tells us little that 
is Machiavellian about Poley, but much about the youthful 
Babington's easy-going, plastic character, with his marked 
love of comforts and of prolonged discussions. In a 
previous section the commencement of their intimacy 
in June has been described, also the assurances of Poley, 
that he would procure the licence to travel. He was also 
ready to swear secrecy and fidelity to Babington and his 
projects before he knew what these might be, though he 
was in general aware that negotiations were in progress 
between Mary on the one side and Morgan on the other. 
On Saturday the 9th of July, he had reported to Mr. 
Secretary the contents of Morgan's letter to Babington, 
of the 16th of May, 2 and Walsingham, having Babington's 
letter to Mary of the 6th of July in his keeping, was only 
urgent that Babington should again come to court, and 
make suit not, as he had hitherto done, in general terms 
only, but explain in detail the services which he would 
render, if he received the licence to travel. 

Accordingly, on the 13th of July, Babington saw the 
Secretary for the third and last time. Walsingham urged 
the young man with great instance to say all he could, 
telling that he had been ' especially warned against him.' 
Indeed, it is said that he even told him, that he knew he 
had corresponded with the Scottish Queen. 3 

Babington, who had so far flattered himself he was 
getting the best of the interviews, was much frightened, 
and asked Poley afterwards, whether it would not really 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xix. n. 26. Boyd, pp. 595-602. 

2 Boyd, p. 596. 

3 So Weston, writing twenty years later, Morris, Troubles, ii. 185, cited 



be better to open out to Mr. Secretary. Poley's answer 
is only known through his own version of it to Walsingham, 
to whom he of course said that he had told Babington 
he need fear no dishonourable treatment at Walsingham' s 

At this Babington asked him how he came to know so 
much about the Secretary, and Poley coolly said, because 
he had performed what he (Babington) was offering to 
perform that is, he had given Walsingham ' intelligence ' 
derived from catholics. 

' Impossible ! ' answered Babington. ' All men of note, 
being catholics, hold you in suspicion.' [I.e. you cannot 
have knowledge from them.] 

Poley answered that he gave in news he had derived 
from Morgan. 

' How is that possible, considering how suspicious 
Morgan is ? ' 

Poley laughed, ' Such points are better imagined, than 
questioned or resolved.' x 

Poley's policy in reporting this interview was, of 
course, to represent his conduct in a light as pleasing to 
Walsingham as possible. He wanted to leave the impres- 
sion that Babington deceived himself. Babington' s version 
of the conversation would doubtless have been different, 
but his ' confessions ' throw no light on the subject. Still 
there can be no possible question that Babington must 
have been at least as obtuse and foolish as he is here 
represented. For he continued to trust more and more 
to a man whom he knew, or at least must have suspected, 
to be playing a double game. 

Walsingham had told Babington to set down in writing 
precise particulars of the ' services ' he proposed to render, 
when abroad ; but Poley, who fell ill for several days at 

1 Poley's Confession, Boyd, p. 597. 


this juncture, says nothing of the dispatch of the letter, 
and it seems never to have been written. 

But when Poley next reported to Walsingham (about the 
25th of July) he told him, the Secretary, that there was 
a plot against the Queen's life. Walsingham, however, 
did not show any surprise at this, but put him off with 
talk of an alleged plot in a very different quarter. Four 
suspicious men had sailed from Boulogne, and also one 
Douglas a Scottish Jesuit, and one Yardley a suspect. If 
Babington would give information to lead to their arrest, 
the service would be sincerely appreciated. 

Babington, when he heard this, professed all zeal for 
the work assigned him, and next day told Poley that, 
though he could find nothing about the supposed Scottish 
Jesuit, the suspicious men who left Boulogne were really 
two Jesuit Fathers, Garnet and Southwell, who were 
already in London. 1 Being under suspicion, he, Babington, 
did not like to approach them without Walsingham' s formal 
permission. Poley having brought this to Walsingham 
came back with leave for Babington to visit the Jesuits. 
This was Friday the 29th of July. 

It is remarkable that Father Southwell, in his first 
letter after reaching London, dated the 25th of July, says, 
' At the court there is said to be a matter in hand, which, 
if it prove successful, bodes extremity of suffering to us : 
if unsuccessful, all will be well.' 2 A Delphic utterance, 
no doubt ; but one that points clearly to his having been 
in communication at least remotely with people who knew 
a good deal. 

x Walsingham had probably heard of these Jesuits through Morgan's 
garrulous letters of 3 and 14 July (N.S., i.e. 23 June and 4 July O.S.). 
Boyd, p. 499. 

2 Catholic Record Society, v. 308. Later on (ibid., p. 314) Southwell 
blames strongly ' the wicked and ill-fated conspiracy.' But when writing 
his Supplication, pp. 30-40, he knew more about the circumstances, and 
his blame is more discriminating. See The Month, March 19 1 2. 


But to return to Poley and Babington. It was Friday 
the 29th of July that Pioley brought back the message that 
Babington should shadow and betray the newly arrived 
Jesuits, Garnet and Southwell. ' What,' asked Babington, 
' before it is surely understood that they were practising 
against the State ? ' The two began to argue, and event- 
ually, Poley having once more given him his hand and the 
promise of secrecy, Babington began that evening and 
the two next days to tell him about the plot. Not indeed 
that he betrayed his companions (except Ballard) ; what 
v he revealed was, in reality, the plot of George Gifford, 
Mawde, and the rest at the time before he joined it. But 
more recent events were also mentioned, especially Queen 
Mary's second letter, which Babington was then answering. 
Poley saw this ; indeed, when Babington came in from a 
walk, he found his new friend coolly making a copy of it. 
Poley thereupon tore up his notes, while Babington said 
he would take the letter itself to Walsingham. Poley 
remembered the letter well enough to give a good account 
of it in his confessions. After three days of confidences 
like this, Babington bade him go and prepare Walsingham 
for a (more or less) full disclosure next day. 

On Wednesday morning, the 3rd of August, Poley rode 
down to Richmond, where Walsingham then was, bursting 
with his secret. But Walsingham received him quite 
coolly, and put off the interview with Babington till the 
Saturday following, having previously told Phelippes that 
he did not mean to see his victim until he was a prisoner 
(below, p. 134). When Poley returned and told his story, 
both men were filled with fear. 

Nevertheless Poley had done Walsingham a very good 
turn by keeping Babington quiet and comfortable in his 
garden. Walsingham himself confessed it, ' I do not find 
but that Poley hath dealt honestly with me ' (below, p. 
135), and indeed but for the enchantments which the old 


intriguant had thrown over the boyish leader of the con- 
spirators, persuading him that he would be ' in great 
favour with the Queen ' as soon as he made his discovery, 
' he would not have tarried so long upon so extreme points 
of danger.' 1 

Another event of these final days, not often mentioned, 
is that Ballard (perhaps in imitation of Babington) also 
wrote to Walsingham, offering to turn Queen's evidence. 
John Charnock was sent to court with the letter, but 
again Walsingham would not see him. The facts were 
mentioned in court during Charnock' s trial, but excited 
no comment. 2 

4. Babington s Last Letter to Mary., 19 Juty-3 August. 

We now go back to Mary's letter, a copy of which 
Phelippes had sped up from Chartley in Staffordshire to 
London on Tuesday, the 19th of July. A special post 
should have done the distance, about 150 miles, in 24 
hours. 3 Walsingham, on the receipt of the news, probably 
took orders from ' on high,' that is from the Queen ; and 
it was not until Friday the 22nd that he wrote and told 
Phelippes to return and bring up Mary's original letter 
with him. 4 But Phelippes was then anxious to pick 
up Mary's promised letter to Mendoza, which (he hoped) 
might show Babington' s influence, and so he stayed on. 
For some unknown reason that letter was delayed until 
29 July/8 August. 

On the 25th Phelippes sent in a letter (now lost) to 
Mary, keeping up his usual deceptions ; but the game 
was now very nearly over. Phelippes left Chartley on 
the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th of July, and Poulet 

1 For the incidents of this section, see Poley's Confession, Boyd, viii. 600. 

2 See State Trials. Trial of Charnock. 

3 Morris, p. 224. But 36 hours (p. 246) was not infrequent. 

4 Morris, p. 245. 


made sure he would have been with Walsingham by Friday 
the 29th. 1 The postscript to Mary's letter was probably 
added later in the day. 

At night on this same Friday the 29th, Babington 
received Mary's answer, written on the 17th ; and there 
can be no question that, when it reached Babington' s 
hands, it had appended to it a postscript, asking Babington 
to name ' the six gentlemen.' This is clear from the 
recollection of the letter given in the confessions both of 
Babington and of Dunne. 2 It is also owned, in language 
that cannot be misunderstood, by Walsingham (below., 
p. 133). A draft by Phelippes is extant and endorsed as 
such by him (p. 46) ; and the fact is affirmed by Camden. 3 
It was also a very easy task to add a few more dashes and 
dots at the end of other dashes and dots, and to an expert 
penman like Arthur Gregory, or Phelippes, a very simple 
operation. The object of the postscript was, not to en- 
courage the plot, but to get Babington to set down the 
names of the ' six ' chief conspirators. Those who would 
not believe Walsingham guilty of inciting to assassina- 
tion directly, will perhaps see little improbability in his 
having sanctioned a postscript such as this. But whether 
one admits this probability or not, the evidence for the 
existence of the postscript is overwhelming. 

* " I received " says Babington, " a letter [on the 29th of 
July] in the same cipher by which I wrote unto her, but by 
another messenger, which was a homely serving man in a 
blue coat. He also brought me a letter from his master 
[really from Phelippes] unto me, by which he promised to 
discover himself by the next dispatch unto me, subscribed no 
name, and willed me not to be curious or inquisitive until 

1 Morris, p. 246. 

2 Babington, Confessions, p. 65 ; Dunne's Examination, Boyd, p. 692. 

3 Camden, Annales (under 1586), p. 438. See also Conyers Read, The 
Bardon Papers (Camden Soc. m. xvii.), p. 133. 


his own coming. The letter enclosed, he said, came from the 
Queen of Scots." ' 1 

Babington told the man to return for his answer in a 
day or two. 

Indolent and excited, Babington had not the patience 
to work out the cipher by himself. ' Mr. Tichborne did 
assist in the deciphering, for that I could not endure the 
piin [fatigue].' When done, Babington showed the copy 
tc Ballard, and afterwards even to Poley. 

The answer he eventually drew up was not ready till 
tie 3rd of August. It stated that they had all been in 
great alarm, as to which he will only say, for the present, 
tiat it originated in Mawde, ' who came out of France with 
I'allard. Ballard acquainted him with the cause, and 
enployed him of late into Scotland. By his treachery we 
aid the whole plot have been brought into extreme danger. 
. . . By what means we have in part prevented this . . . 
wth our final determinations, my next letter shall discover.' 

What those ' means ' were, what ' our final determina- 
tbns,' we do not know. It must be remembered that 
JVawde was so far the only danger suspected. As he had 
jdned Ballard at the time of the previous plot (that of 
Gorge Gifford), Babington may have thought that by 
d:nouncing it, he would be safeguarding everything. 
Bit this is only conjecture. In reality the searchers were 
n>w close on the tracks of the whole party. 

5. A Little Comedy. 

Then ensued a little comedy. While Poley was carefully 
keping Babington in his own house to prevent his bolting, 
Pielippes, Berden, and Milles were hunting for him in vain 

1 Babington, Confessions, p. 64. The covering note was, of course, from 
Relippes, and the accuracy which Babington remembered it, shows that 
ithad awakened suspicions. 


at his accustomed lodgings. First a messenger was sent 
to ask Babington for his answer to Mary. But he could 
not be found. Phelippes thought he might have slipped 
down towards Chartley, and Ballard also disappeared about 
the same time. Great were the lamentations for the un- 
explained absence of Gilbert. c Sorry I am,' wrote 
Walsingham, c that G. G. is absent. I marvel greatly 
how this humour of estranging himself cometh upon hin.' 
That night, 2 August, Walsingham was quite put out. 
Next morning, 3 August, he wrote to Phelippes (below, 
p. 133). 

4 You will not believe how much I am grieved at the eveit 
of this case. I fear the addition of the postscript hath brel 
jealousy [suspicion], and praying God to send us better succesi, 
I commit you to His protection. Your loving friend, 


A second note to Phelippes on the same day approved f 
his plans for the arrest of Ballard/ but with no other course 
of proceeding than with an ordinary e lesueste.' That is ^> 
say the warrant and the searchers were only to descrile 
him as a priest. Moreover, so great was Walsingham' s 
for secrecy, that the warrant for Ballard's arrest was to 
signed, not by himself, but by the Lord Admiral. As 
Babington, if Phelippes thought that an answer to Marys 
letter might yet be got from him, he might wait till Frid^ 
(5 August), but not longer ; for in any case ' better to lack 
the answer, than to lack the man.' 

6. The End of the Plot, 3-15 August. 

On the evening of the same day, the 3rd of Augus, 
Phelippes l abridged his honour's anxiety ' with the hapjy 
news that he had discovered that Babington was still h 
town, at Poley's garden. 1 Next day, Thursday, August tl 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xix. n. 6. Boyd, p. 584. 



4th, Poley's house was surrounded, and Ballard arrested 
there between 11 and 12 o'clock, perhaps before the eyes 
of Babington, who was still lying in bed. 1 

Babington was naturally startled, if not terrified, by this 
stroke. But second thoughts were more reassuring, seeing 
that he was not touched, while Ballard was seized for the 
honourable cause of his priesthood. What shall he do 
next ? What did Poley, so practised in court procedure, 
advise ? 

Poley of course assured him, that if he would remain 
quiet, all would go well. He himself would go to court 
and arrange matters with Walsingham. He would plead 
that the arrest would prove most injurious to those pro- 
mised services, which Walsingham had welcomed. If 
Ballard might at least be removed from public prison for 
a week, as taken under a wrong name, people would think 
he had been discharged, and Babington would not lose his 
reputation. Such was the story told in Poley's memoir ; 
which having lost the last page, now ends abruptly with 
the words, ' In this unlikely hope I left him assured, and 
went to court.' On his arrival Poley himself was put under 
arrest. The reason for Poley's arrest, however, probably 
was not (as older writers on Mary's side used to think) 
merely that it might serve as a blind to deceive the catho- 
lics. It was, in the first instance, presumably due to the 
jealousy of Walsingham' s followers against a new-comer 
from Blount's or Sidney's household. Milles had written 
on the 4th ' Pfoley] is a notable knave with no trust in him ' 
(Boyd, p. 588). But after his arrest, Walsingham, who had 
never been against him, appears to have been quite satisfied 
by his confession. He was kept for a while in the Tower, 
but afterwards set free, to continue his old trade. 

1 Milles to Walsingham, Boyd, p. 588 : Poley's Confession, R.O., Mary 
Queen of Scots, xix. 26. Boyd, p. 602. 


7. The Conspirators disperse. 

Poley being thus unexpectedly, and in appearance in- 
explicably under arrest, Babington was again the prey to 
conflicting emotions, now swayed by anger and resentment, 
now again by fear, anguish, and yearning. Inspired by 
these feelings, he wrote to Poley a letter l which is quite 
a remarkable production from a literary point of view, as 
Babington' s utterances so often were. 


* Sollicitce non possunt curce mutare aranei stamina fusi. 2 I 
am ready to endure whatsoever shall be inflicted. Et facer e 
et pati Romanorum est. 3 What my course hath been towards 
Mr. Secretary, you can witness, what my love towards you, 
yourself can best tell. Proceedings at my lodgings have been 
very strange. I am the same I allwayes pretended. I pray 
God you be, and ever so remayne towards me. Take hede to 
your own part, least of these my misfortunes you beare the 
blame. Est exilium inter malos vivere.* 

* Farewell, sweete Robyn, if, as I take thee, true to me. If 
not, Adieu, omnium bipedum nequissimus. 5 

'Retorne me thine answere for my satisfaction, and my 
diamond, and what else thou wilt. The furnace is prepared, 
wherein our fait he must be tryed. Farewell till we mete, 
which God knows when. 

' Thyne, how farre thou knowest, 


At another of these moments of excitement, Babington 
suddenly resolved to put the plot against the Queen's 
person into instant execution (4 August). ' Forced by the 

1 B.M., Lansdowne, 49. n. 25. Contemporary copy, no date. The MS. 
has several careless readings, especially ' rati ' for aranei ' in the first line. 
See Boyd, p. 658 ; Lingard, note R, vi. 423, 695, gives 4 August as date. 

2 Nor care nor cautel ever mends ; of spider's threads the broken ends. 

3 Both to do and to bear [this is worthy] of Romans. 

4 To live amidst the wicked ; what an exile ! 
6 Of all two-footed things, the wickedest. 


extreme danger, and no hope of any pardon for so hateful 
an offence, the attempt upon the Queen's person was then, 
and never till then, resolved on my part.' He met some 
of the conspirators in ' Paul's Walk,' and urged Savage to 
undertake the deed at once. Savage, who always mechan- 
ically undertook whatever he was urged to do, consented. 
He was furnished with arms and money by Babington, 
and Charnock was appointed to support him in his desperate 
enterprise. But, as before, nothing whatsoever came of 
his promises. 

Meanwhile, in Poley's absence, the task of ' playing ' 
with Babington was entrusted to an agent more in touch 
with the Secretary's staff. This was his man Scudamore, 
to whom Babington should have given money before, 
in order to obtain the travelling licence. 1 A letter was 
therefore brought by him to Babington from Walsingham, 
saying that the arrest of Ballard had been due not to 
him, but to that officious magistrate [and notorious per- 
secutor of catholics] Mr. Richard Young. Walsingham 
could not indeed openly stop Young ; but if Babington 
wanted to escape him, he had better keep in the company 
of Scudamore. 2 

Walsingham' s kindly note restored Babington' s confid- 
ence ; he took off Scudamore and Scudamore' s man to dine 
at a neighbouring hostel : but during the meal a note had 
come to Scudamore from the court, and Babington, sitting 
at his side, detected that it gave orders for his arrest. This 
nerved him for action. Without betraying the least 
anxiety and leaving his rich cloak and sword on the back 
of his chair, he stepped towards the bar, saying he would 
' pay the shot.' Then slipping out he ran on foot to 
Westminster, where he met Gage and Charnock, and they 

1 Boyd, p. 595. 

2 Camden, Annales, 1625, P- 439* translation of 1635, p. 306. 


fled northwards to St. John's Wood (5 August). In its 
now vanished glades they were joined by Dunne and 
Barnwell, and lay hidden there nearly ten days, until at 
last hunger forced them to approach Harrow, where (in 
spite of a proclamation for their arrest) they begged and 
obtained some food from a catholic family called Bellamy, 
living in the old, moated house of Uxendon. 1 The family 
eventually had to atone for their perhaps excusable charity 
by the executions of two of the younger sons, Bartholomew 
and Jeremy, and the death in prison of their venerable 
grandmother Catherine Page. 2 

Near Uxendon Babington and his companions were 
arrested on the 14th of August, and were brought up in 
triumph to the Tower on the 15th. Tilney, Charnock, and 
Gage, with the two Bellamies, were at once imprisoned 
there. Ballard, who had been examined before, was now 
probably to be tortured. Tilney, Savage, and Tichborne 
had attempted to escape southwards, but had been already 
arrested in the London suburbs. Salisbury got away to 
the west, and after some fortunate escapes, was arrested 

1 Only the moat now remains. The family was finally ruined by 
Topcliff, who arrested here the poet Southwell in 1591. For the sad story 
of the fall of the Bellamies, see Simpson in Rambler, 1857, i. 98-115. 
Morris, Troubles, ii. 44-66. The latter does not advert to that ruin having 
taken place in two stages. 

2 According to the catholics (e.g. Father Weston, apud Morris, Troubles, 
ii. 187), Bartholomew Bellamy died under or in consequence of torture : 
according to protestants he ' hanged himself in the Tower ' (Catholic Record 
Society, ii. 257). Oddly enough the Tower Bills (September 1586) do not 
mention Bartholomew at all (Catholic Record Society, iii. 24). See also 
Morris, Troubles, ii. p. 49. 

While at or near Uxendon the conspirators received the sacraments for 
the last time from Mr. Davis, a priest who had just escaped imprisonment. 
In later years Davis wrote about the plot, ' Of that tragedy Sir Francis 
Walsingham was the chief actor and contriver, as I gathered by Mr. 
Babington himself, who was with me the night before he was apprehended ' 
(quoted by Challoner, Missionary Priests, i. no. 55). Such was the verdict 
on Walsingham, which catholics of that day were almost sure to arrive at, 
on hearing Babington's story. 


with Jones in Cheshire. Edward Abington managed to 
avoid the pursuivants in his native country, Worcester- 
shire, for a month ; and Edward Windsor kept free in the 
same way for half a year, and then through interest escaped 
with his life. Babington and the other prisoners, after 
being examined at Ely House, the London residence of 
Sir Christopher Hatton, were sent to the Tower on the 
24th and 25th of August. 

8. Gilbert and Mendoza (? 1-11 August). 

Though the plot was now dead, we must, before we close 
this section, return once more to Gilbert Gifford. 

We have heard Babington's answer to Gilbert's last 
attempts to galvanise the plot into life. He should go 
abroad again, said Babington, and bring back new decisions 
from catholic authorities that the plot was praiseworthy 
in all details, and that the Spanish auxiliaries were in 
readiness. He may even have given him formal letters of 
credence for the purpose, or Gilbert may have forged them. 
At all events, leaving London as we have seen on the 
20th/30th or 21st /31st of July, he would have been in Paris 
about the 25th July /4th August, and a few days later he 
had an interview with Mendoza, of which the ambassador 
gives a long and interesting account on the 3rd /1 3th August. 

Mendoza had no knowledge of the antecedents of the 
young man with whom he was talking, when Gilbert 
produced his ' proper ' credentials, and spoke glibly of his 
commissions and of his honoured family. The ambassador 
was so impressed by this, that he adopted the word ' el 
gentilhombre ' as his sobriquet. 

Instead, however, of treating of the commissions, which 
Babington had entrusted to him (and Babington's state- 
ment has all the appearance of verisimilitude), he played 
his part of provocateur with the utmost boldness and 


consummate art. Instead of inquiring whether Spain was 
ready, and showing that the English catholics could not 
rise till this was assured, he tells the Spaniard that troops 
are not required, that the English are sure to rise, and in- 
flames him by every art to write to England in favour of the 
assassination. The letters, he knew, would be intercepted, 
and he, Gilbert, would secure a new triumph. 1 

He began, therefore, with a long recital of the names of 
the English nobility and gentry, and of the soldiers and 
sailors, who were pledged to rise. Then comes a descrip- 
tion of the Babington plot (p. 605), which is only delayed 
until they have Mendoza's approval. 

Babington had in truth insisted that Spanish troops 
were indispensable. Gilbert says, ' They will not ask for 
troops to be sent.' ' If I,' wrote Mendoza, ' will give them 
my word, that they shall have help from the Netherlands 
in case they need it ... they will at once put into execu- 
tion the plan to kill the Queen . . . and they . . . beg 
me most earnestly for God's sake to send them an instant 

Flop ! went Mendoza into the trap, with even less dis- 
cernment than Savage, Babington, or Mary had shown. 

4 1 received " the gentleman," wrote the befooled veteran, 
'in a way which the importance of his proposal deserved, 
as it was so Christian, just, and advantageous to the Holy 
Catholic Faith and your Majesty's service.' 

Alack ! alack ! for the political morality of the sixteenth 
century, when strained by adverse circumstances ! 

4 1 wrote them two letters by different routes, one in Italian 
and the other in Latin, encouraging them in the enterprise. 

1 Spanish Calendar, pp. 603-4. The Spanish text is in A. Teulet, Rela- 
tions politiques, v. 371 ; the original is in Paris, Archives Nationals, 1564, 
135 (olim 150), collated for me by R. P. de Joannis. It will be remembered 
that what Babington had asked for was the declaration ' by authority,' 
presumably by Allen or the Nuncio, that this assassination was lawful. 


If they succeed in killing the Queen [Note which action is now 
to come first], they should have the assistance they required 
from the Netherlands. Troops would not be needed at once, 
and afterwards (it seems) only in relatively small numbers ' 
(p. 608). 

'And so he went on "I promised," "I urged," "I thanked," 
and in the end " I advised that they should either kill or seize 
Cecil, Walsingham, Lord Hunsdon, Knollys, and Beale of 
the Council." V 

It is quite likely that Gilbert had suggested all this to 
Mendoza. It corresponds to the ' Star-Chamber practice,' 
of which he had probably often talked with Savage. 

Then the ambassador went on to reassure his master : 

' This is the most serious plot which has been heard of from 
the English Catholics. They have never before proposed to 
take away the Queen, which is now the first step they intend 
to take. . . .' 

Finally comes what was, of course, to him the real point : 

4 If the Queen falls, the country will submit without effusion 
of blood, and the war in the Netherlands will be at an end, 
which will result in infinite advantage to your Majesty's 
interests and to those of your dominions.' 

Sad indeed it is to see the representative of a great power 
fall to the profession of principles so unworthy, principles 
which, however, were not unacceptable to his master, as 
the King's c postille ' (marginal notes) unmistakably show. 1 
And the religious cant, though less sanctimonious than 
that of Poulet, is equally detestable. Only in its perfect 
frankness is the Spanish immorality somewhat less repulsive 
than the English. 

With this Mendoza sent ' a statement of the Counties of 
England, and their present position ' ; it contains surmises 
as to the numbers of catholics, according to counties, 

1 Spanish Calendar, p. 608. King Philip noted in the margin against 
these words of Mendoza's, ' That was well done.' 


capable of bearing arms in the whole of England, which 
was estimated at 30,200 in all. 

We are naturally curious to know whether this was 
Ballard's old report, or one brought over by Gilbert Gifford. 
Mendoza, though indefinite, seems to mean the former. 
He says it was drawn up by ' un ' clerigo, whom he had 
sent to England. This corresponds with Ballard and his 
mission ; and, moreover, Mendoza uses ' el clerigo ' as 
Ballard's sobriquet in this very letter. It is true that he 
here speaks of 4 un ' (not 'el') clerigo, but small inex- 
actitudes were common in those days, and in Mendoza' s 
letters not at all unfrequent. In any case, the paper was 
not made primarily for the Spaniards, who are never 
mentioned in it but for Queen Mary's party. Loyalty 
to her has inspired the writer, who probably was Ballard. 1 

Whether Gilbert had anything to say in the construction 
of the paper is a matter of conjecture ; and even if it was 
altogether Ballard's, its authority would be next to nothing. 

Regarded exclusively as a work of art, Gilbert's dexterity 
and diplomacy at this interview surely deserves our un- 
qualified admiration ; and it is almost a disappointment 
to add that the astute plan fell absolutely flat. The 
letters were not intercepted, they never reached England 
at all. In the turmoil and excitement which resulted from 
the arrest of the conspirators, all ways of communication 
were cut ; Morgan recovered the letters from the French 
post, and Gilbert's magnificent stroke fell harmless, except 
that in later times Mendoza' s letter has come to light, and 
exposed him to the severe strictures, which he richly 
deserves. 2 

1 See above, pp. xcv, xcvi. 

2 Indeed, even at that time, something transpired. Mendoza had 
employed Grately to cipher his letters, and Grately told Gilbert later that 
the Spanish message was, ' Ammazzate la Bastarda excommunicata 
heretica.' Gilbert sent this on in his cipher of about January 1587, too 


Had such trumps fallen into Walsingham's hands at that 
moment, it is hard to estimate how terrible might have 
been the consequences for Mary, for the catholics of 
England, and indeed for the cause of Catholicism in the 
North, for an enthusiastic protestant crusade might easily 
have been started. Mendoza's previous letters to Ballard 
had, as Gilbert knew, been carried to England in the French 
ambassador's bags, and he had doubtless made, or hoped 
to make, preparations for their interception. In fact, the 
French dispatches were seized, though nothing was found 
in them : but this violation of the law of nations was 
probably not due to Gilbert. 

A noticeable feature about this solicitation is that 
Gilbert seems to have acted throughout on his own initia- 
tive. Walsingham and Phelippes did not then know that 
he was in Paris, and they were not a little vexed at his 
being away from his usual post in London. Nor when he 
began to correspond again can I find any allusion to his 
part in this exploit, though he did mention the part played 
by Grately (Boyd, ix. 220). 

From this one infers that he did not himself know how 
deep an impression he had made on Mendoza. The 
ambassador's diplomatic bearing and Spanish dignity 
probably concealed from the Englishman the depth to 
which he had been affected. The letters were entrusted 
to other channels, and Mendoza insisted on Gilbert re- 
maining in Paris for a time, to avoid the suspicion which 
would be aroused by frequent coming and going. It was 
conceivably this precaution which upset Gilbert's plans. 
Anyhow, we see that he acted on his own responsibility in 
these matters, without waiting for Walsingham's orders. 

late for Walsingham's use (now, Mary Queen of Scots, xx. 45 ; printed 
Boyd, ix. 220). As Grately was in the pay of the English ambassador, 
we may be sure that he had also been told. But the question again 
arises, can we believe these slippery rogues implicitly ? 



The same thing had doubtless happened before. There 
had been egging on of Savage and Babington, about which 
Walsingham knew in general, but did not want to know in 
detail. We are not to assume that the extant letters of 
Gilbert to his master told him everything he said and did. 
They probably only conveyed such a minimum as was 
necessary (after fuller conferences by word of mouth with 
Phelippes and himself) for receiving further directions. 


1. Walsingham s Task. 

For some time back we have known that Mary was in 
the toils ; we have now to see how the final blow was given. 
It is a mournful, sordid scene, in which Mary comes out 
a heroine by the exercise of the highest moral courage. 
These events, however, may be given on a briefer scale ; 
partly because they are more widely known, partly because 
they contain so many issues irrelevant to our main object, 
which is to ascertain the truth about the Babington plot. 

That Elizabeth's government would avoid giving the 
secrets of the plot to the public followed at once from the 
way in which the conspiracy had been instigated, nursed, 
and exposed. The part which Walsingham and his agents 
had played must be kept quiet at all costs. If public 
attention had been directed to the fact that Elizabeth's 
ministers had conspired against the heiress to the throne, 
it would have caused an outcry in that day as it would 
in ours ; so great was the respect then paid to royalty, 
so easily might the dormant sympathy with the Scottish 
Queen have been aroused. 

This then is to be the first condition of the inquiry 


that it must conceal the origin of the conspiracy, and the 
methods by which it had been carried on. Before the 5th 
of August Elizabeth had commanded Walsingham ' to keep 
to himself the depth and. manner of the discovery.' This 
order he carried out perfectly, not only concealing every- 
thing that he had done, but also all the activities of his 
agents ; and where was it that they had not given encour- 
agement and assistance. 1 

Still, on the whole this was easy work. No one who 
glances at the State Trials of those days, especially at the 
trials of those whose treason was in reality their religion, 
can fail to be struck by the facility with which the State 
got its way, however weak its case. And so it fell out 

Though the seizure of Mary's secretaries and of her 
papers was one of the first steps in the prosecution of the 
plot, no further steps against her were taken for several 
weeks. The letters were carried to Windsor, and Phellipes 
went down with them, to explain to the Queen their signifi- 
cance, and ' understood from her Majesty's self how well 
she accepted his service.' 2 

I do not suppose that Phelippes told the Queen every- 
thing about Gilbert's provocation, nor about Poley and 
Mawde's shadowing of the conspirators. Had she known 
how unreal and fictitious the whole plot had been, she 
could hardly have been so very much alarmed, as she 
undoubtedly was. In fact, her fits of terror now became 
one of the determining features of the situation. The 
fr'ghtening feature was that Savage and Barnwell had been 
to her court, and that three of the gentlemen of her guard, 

1 Walsingham to Elizabeth, Tytler, iv. 130 ; Boyd, p. 589, undated, 
but must be after 4 August. The letter also shows that Elizabeth was 
interested in the tricks of the detective system, in provocateurs, ciphers, 
etc., and gave advice as to their application. 

2 Morris, p. 245. 


viz. Tilney, Abington, and Windsor, were implicated as par- 
ticipators, while George Gifford was also charged. These 
defections in her very entourage were naturally calculated 
to arouse both anxiety and suspicion, in a lady accustomed 
to live with great openness before her people. We cannot 
wonder at Elizabeth's letter to Sir Amias, 1 written in the 
first burst of her indignation, and full of reproach for the 
4 vile murderess.' 

It was natural that the conspirators should have been 
taken in hand first. They all confessed in full, as soon as 
they were arrested, or after a very short delay. Ballard, 
Savage, and Tichborne were the first captured, and their 
recorded confessions began on the 8th, 10th, and llth of 
August respectively. Those of Babington, Barnwell, and 
Tilney began on the 20th and 21st. The confessions of all 
were finished by the 5th of September. 2 

Whether any were tortured except Ballard is uncertain ; 
probably some were, and of course they all knew that the 
rack was waiting for them in case they were obdurate. 
The reason why so much severity was shown to Ballard 
will probably have been to obtain from him the names of 
those who had made him promises of aid in case of an 
invasion. For a moment he wavered, but he was chival- 
rously assisted in the Tower itself by Father Crichton, an 
adventuresome Scottish Jesuit, 3 and after this he stood 
firm. We do not know that any beyond the conspirators 
were named by him, except casually or by inadvertence. 
Upon the whole he bore himself with a courage worthy of a 
better cause. 

Babington confessed very fully, and, as was his wont, 
with eloquence and good reasoning. Perhaps the most 

1 Morris, p. 267. 

2 All that remains of them is a set of extracts on points needed for their 
trials. A full summary of these is in Boyd, viii. 680, etc. 

3 See Crichton's Memoir, below, p. 151. 


regrettable feature in his confessions was his endeavour to 
intimidate the Queen by declarations of the certainty of a 
Spanish invasion, and of further attempts against her life. 
Deceived as he was on those points, there was perhaps no 
great wonder in his speaking as he did. Nevertheless in 
his inexperience, he was playing foolishly into the hands 
of the persecutors. 1 

On the 13th, 14th, and 15th of September the conspirators 
were tried in two batches, and of course condemned. The 
proceedings would have shocked our modern ideas of 
justice. The indictment having been read, the prisoners 
(except Babington) all pleaded Not Guilty to the charge 
of intending to murder the Queen, though they admitted 
the other counts of the indictment. But on being pressed 
they all pleaded Guilty to the whole indictment. No 
explanation of this change was asked for, nor can any be 
given definitely now ; but to judge from their confessions 
we may surmise that their meaning was, not that they never 
imagined assassination, but that they had not arrived at 
any final conclusion about it. They had no idea at all how 
they had been betrayed. 

On the second day the defence was much more spirited, 
and there was a strong though vain appeal that lawful 
witnesses should be produced. To which the Queen's 
solicitor, Thomas Egerton, pointed out that they had been 
indicted under a statute of 25 King Edward in., by which 
imagining treason was made a capital offence. ' How 
then,' asked the solicitor, ' can the secret cogitations, 
which lie in the minds of traitors, be proved by honest 
men ? ' 2 A brief but vivid summary of the judicial pro- 
cedure throughout this case. 

Nothing at all came out in the evidence regarding the 

1 See below, p. 86, n. 3. 2 State Trials, 1730, p. 129. 


way in which the plot had been commenced, carried on, 
or detected ; nothing about the Queen of Scots ; and we 
now know that Elizabeth gave orders that this was to be 
so, because she feared that some friend of Mary might be 
so irritated thereby as to murder her forthwith. 1 She was 
still under the spell of fear, which Walsingham had cast 
over her. 

For the same reason she insisted to Lord Burghley that 
' for more terror ' some extra torment should be added to 
the already appalling sentence of quartering alive. 2 The 
execution was therefore conducted slowly ; but the public 
was shocked, and next day the culprits were allowed to 
hang till they were dead.. Yet the printed account of the 
executions attributes this clemency to Elizabeth. ' The 
Queen being informed of the severity used in the executions 
the day before, and detesting such cruelty, gave express 
orders that these should be used more favourably.' 3 

It is an open question whether we should regard this 
as a mere flourish of flattery, or as a sober record of yet 
another volte face on Elizabeth's part, during this period 
of excitement. 

As soon as the conspirators had suffered, the question 
of Mary's execution began to be agitated. As w r e have 
heard, Walsingham was keeping in the background, and 
Lord Burghley was given the lead. And now was felt the 
ill effect of the references to Burghley' s friendliness in the 
secret correspondence. They had been begun by Morgan, 
and Walsingham had (3 May) ' Salved that packet that 
toucheth " the great person " (i.e Burghley), as neither 
he nor the cause shall take lack.' 4 That is to say, 
while showing Elizabeth the intercepted letters, he had 
kept back that particular letter lest her jealousy should 

1 Bardon Papers, p. 45. 2 Ibid., and p. 47. 

8 State Trials, p. 135. Morris, p. 189. 


be excited. But, if Walsingham told Phelippes of his 
manoeuvre, he probably also told Burghley, when the 
opportune moment to do so arrived. For this Walsingham 
may have waited, for Mary in July asked her ambassador 
to make some of her grievances known to Burghley, hoping 
that he might remedy them ; and Phelippes, while 
sending on a decipher of her words, writes, ' She is very 
bold to make way to the " great personage " (i.e. Lord 
Burghley), and I fear he will be forward in satisfying her, 
till he see Babington's treason.' * 

From these words of Walsingham' s underling we infer 
without doubt that Cecil was by comparison friendly to 
Mary, but that Walsingham had in his hands the means of 
making him her enemy, by showing him her correspondence. 
Walsingham no doubt did so, as soon as the trial of the 
Queen was resolved upon. For from thence onward 
Burghley and Hatton, the leaders of the moderates, were 
pushed to the fore, and Burghley wrote to Elizabeth's 
private secretary, Davison (15 October, Boyd, ix. 102), 
boasting of his activity against the Scottish Queen. 

2. The Secretaries confess. 

We do not know precisely at what date it was resolved 
to try Mary for her life. Phelippes, a very well-informed 
outsider, at first, 19 July, reckoned only on the execution 
of Nau and Curll. 2 Walsingham, in his answer, 22 July, 3 
' hoped a good course would be held in this cause.' 
Everything depended on Elizabeth. 

Throughout the month of August dealings with the 
conspirators, and the study of the papers captured at 
Chartley, had occupied every one's attention. Nau and 

1 Morris, p. 235. Phelippes adds, ' I doubt not your Honour hath care 
enough not to discover which way the wind comes in,' i.e. not even 
Burghley was to know how the plot had been worked. 

2 Morris, p. 235. 3 Morris, p. 245. 


Curll were confined in Milles's house, and we hear of their 
having little disputes on philosophic and religious questions. 

The secretaries knew that Mary's papers had been 
captured ; but they did not suspect that Phelippes was 
thoroughly familiar with the whole correspondence : he 
had all the original ciphers with the deciphers of all the 
papers sent to Mary, and copies by himself of all the letters 
which had come from her. In this collection, however, 
one indispensable document was still wanting. There was 
as yet no copy of Mary's all-important letter to Babington, 
the very face of which would not awaken serious suspicion. 
For if a copy of the letter, in the form familiar to us, had 
been given to Babington and his friends, without preface 
or preparation, they would at once have noticed the 
absence of the postscript, which he, Dunne, and Poley 
all described quite clearly. On the other hand, if the 
secretaries or Mary had been shown a copy with the post- 
script, they would at once have perceived the forger's hand. 
Whether it was Phelippes, Walsingham, or some other 
who planned the clever fraud which was now practised 
on the confiding young Babington, we cannot say ; but 
the extant papers show us pretty clearly the stages in 
which the deceit was worked out. 

Even in his earliest confessions, now lost, Babington had 
said everything he remembered about the letters, and in the 
first surviving examination (18 August), he says, first, that 
he will now pass over the letter, as he has already said all 
that he could call to mind. Then, being told to write down 
his recollection again, he does so at the end of his paper, and 
upon the whole very fully, accurately, and he mentions 
the postscript (below, p. 65). On the 20th we find that his 
memory was refreshed by having further clauses laid before 
him ; and he is asked if he remembers them. Yes, he 
does ; and then he rewrites them, in improved order and 
language. Evidently he was in a mood to oblige the govern- 


ment as far as he could. But his attention having been 
fixed on the earlier parts of the letter, he now passes the 
postscript unmentioned (below, pp. 77-9). 

Eventually he attested all the letters and the cipher- 
key mechanically in almost exactly the same terms. 1 
The eight councillors who were conducting his examina- 
tion immediately countersigned his signature to each 
letter : and this sham authentication has established 
the text without the postscript, as we now know it. In 
his readiness to oblige, Babington had been gradually led 
to overlook an omission of grave importance for the 
authenticity of the evidence. 

To give greater eclat to their copy the government 
report states that Babington, before subscribing, had 
corrected ' two or three words mistakenly copied,' and 
also that he had signed ' every page ' of the letters, whereas 
all the available copies of that day show that he only 
subscribed each letter. 2 In this way was Babington' s 
engaging frankness made to shroud the dark treasons of 
Walsingham and his scoundrels. 

Early in September Lord Burghley began to examine the 
secretaries on the captured papers. At first an attempt 
was made to frighten them. From the point of view of 
Elizabeth's councillors (as we have heard Phelippes say) 
their lives were certainly forfeit, and this was constantly 
dinned into their ears. But to threats they would not yield. 

Before the 4th of September, however, we see from a 
note of Lord Burghley 's that another method had been tried 

1 The cipher-key is now, Domestic Elizabeth, cxciii. 54, attested i 
September. The other attestations are not dated ; but they were shown 
to Curll and Nau, 2 September. The cipher-key may be the copy kept 
by Curll ; if not, it is the copy made by Phelippes. For Babington's 
authentications, see pp. 23, 30, 46. 

2 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 51 ; xix. 9 ; Yelverton, xxxi. 206, 
etc. ; Caligula, C. ix. 238 ; Caligula, B. v. 164; Boyd, viii. 587; Labanoff, 

vi. 394 ; Hardwicke State Papers, i. 233. 


to shake their constancy, and with greater avail : ' Writings 
to touch both Nau, Curll and Pasquier ' had been produced ; 
and if more might be brought forward, ' it shall serve us 
(Lord Burghley is speaking) and spare our threatenings.' x 

The ' writings to touch Nau ' and the rest, were the 
drafts, in their own handwriting, of the letters to Morgan, 
Paget, and others, which treated of the invasion of the 
realm. Nau says 2 that he at first denied everything, even 
his own handwriting, which so enraged Walsingham, that 
he ran at him, and shook his fist in the Frenchman's face 
until Lord Burghley ' doulcement ' persuaded him to sit 
down. Nau's autograph draft in question may have been 
that at the Record Office (Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 44), 
which still bears the attestation, ' Cecy est de ma main. 
NAU. 2 Sept. 1586.' 

On that same day Curll too was shown the Babington- 
Mary correspondence, and he attested the altogether 
innocent ' first letter ' of Mary to Babington, written on 
the 25th of June ; and he also admitted his own draft of 
Mary's letters to Englefield and Charles Paget. 3 

Nevertheless next day (3 September) Walsingham re- 
ported that neither Curll nor Nau would confess know- 
ledge of the really important Letters n. and in., in which 
Babington had disclosed the conspiracy, and Mary (saying 
nothing at all about the murder plot) had given directions 
to deal with Mendoza and others about the invasion. 4 

That night's post, however, brought news that both 
secretaries were weakening. Walsingham was more satis- 
fied with Curll : while Nau sent in his ' first answer in 

1 Conyers Read, Bardon Papers (Camden Society, 1909), p. 43. 

2 Nau's defence of 2 March 1605, Caligula, B. v. 233. Another draft 
letter acknowledged by Nau in Labanoff, vi. 81. 

3 Morris, p. 284 ; Boyd, p. 666. Next year, 16 August 1587, Curll 
admitted his decipherments of Letters 11. and in., Caligula, D. i. 90. 
See below, p. cxc. 

4 Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 80, printed in Morris, p. 283. 


confessing the writing of the letters by a minute of the 
Queen of Scots,' as Lord Burghley has endorsed it. 

He stated that Mary had heard of plans for her escape 
two months before, and that she had then handed him an 
autograph minute, ' une minute de lettre escripte par sa 
main pour la polir et mectre au net.' Then he went on to 
say that ' this is clear to your Honours, for you have both 
the one [Mary's minute] and the other [Nau's own draft] 
in your hands.' 1 

This, of course, led to orders for a search to be made for 
Mary's minute, and for Nau's draft ; but neither could be 

We must pause here to appreciate the issues involved, 
and must begin by removing the false impression caused 
by a faulty passage in the Hardwicke Papers. 2 There we 
read, 4 She (Mary) willed him (Curll) to burn the English 
copy of the letter sent to Babington.' This is proved to be 
fictitious by reference to the official record printed below, 
p. 147, and note. In place of the above quotation, we there 
find the words, ' the letter which was Englished this 
examinate (Curll) put into a trunk, that was in the Scottish 
Queen's cabinet, under lock and key.' 

Evidently we have here before us a plain falsification of 
evidence, which perhaps took place when it was desired to 
lay a case before the French or the Scots. Government in 
those days treated evidence with the same violence with 
which they oppressed individual liberty. ' These fine 
councillors of England,' wrote the French ambassador a 
little later, ' never produce the original pieces, but only 
copies, to or from which they add or subtract what 

1 R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 78 ; Boyd, viii. 665. 

2 Miscellaneous State Papers from . . . Lord Hardwicke . . . etc., 
i. 237. See below, p. 147. 


they like.' 1 It may also be added, that the Hardwicke 
document does not profess to be a copy of the official 
evidence, though it does claim to be a ' report ' of its 

Phelippes, having been asked to find the two French 
drafts mentioned by Nau, sent instead an argument of his 
own, which may be represented as an effort to show that 
the papers desired were not necessary. Phelippes no doubt 
had a motive for destroying the minutes, because they did 
not support the postscript. But Walsingham wrote so 
feelingly to Phelippes himself about their loss, that he 
cannot have suspected that Phelippes had destroyed them, 2 
and I question whether the servant would have done this 
without orders. On the other hand, later on, when the 
record of the preservation of Curll's English minute was 
tampered with, the minute itself will, probably have been 
destroyed, unless indeed Phelippes or some one else had 
done so before, lest it should betray the postscript. Nau's 
words of the French drafts by Mary and himself I take to 
have been uttered under the influence of false information, 
such as we shall hear of immediately. We must also 
remember Mary's words at her trial, that she was well 
assured ' that neither her words nor her writing could be 
shown against her.' 3 

On the 4th of September both Burghley and Walsingham 
wrote independently to Hatton and to Phelippes, who were 
at Windsor, begging them to press Elizabeth for a slight 
change of policy. 

1 Ces beaux conseillers d'Angleterre . . . jamais ne produisent les 
mesmes pieces originaulx des procedures, mais seulement des copies, 
esquelles ils adjoutent ou diminuent ce qu'il leur plait. F. H. Egerton, 
Life of Th. Egerton, p. 101 ; in Lingard, p. 453, n. 

2 Morris, pp. 284, 287. 

3 The Scottish Queen's first answer, R.O., Mary Queen of Scots, xx. 12; 
Boyd, ix. 97. 


Burghley told Hatton he thinks that both 

" Nau and Curll will yield somewhat to confirm their Mistress's 
crimes. But if they were persuaded that themselves might 
scape, and the blow fall upon their Mistress betwixt her head 
and shoulders, surely we should have the whole from them," 
and then he went on to ask in words already quoted, for more 
of their drafts, which " shall serve us the better, and spare our 
threatenings to them." ' 1 

Walsingham desired the Queen's mercy for Curll, in 
hopes of his bearing witness against Nau. As the minute 
of her answer is not 4 extant,' it seemed necessary to work 
in this way ; and he (Walsingham) had in fact already 
promised his aid to Curll. Phelippes wanted the execution 
of both the secretaries, and showed in a letter of the same 
day, 4 September, how it could be accomplished. This 
blood-thirst rose partly from the greater cruelty of an 
underling, whose lust for Mary's death we have already 
heard, and still more from his desire to put out of the 
way those who might perhaps charge him later on. 2 

Still on this occasion both Phelippes and Hatton appear 
to have used their influence with Elizabeth to obtain the 
grace proposed ; but to the credit of the secretaries be it 
added, that as they would not bend to fear, so neither did 
they yield to any offers of favour. They were deceived, 
however, about the 5th or 6th, into believing that some 
letters of overwhelming force had been discovered. This 
caused a great and immediate change in both : they 
thought that all chance of further defence was gone. 

Nau in a later apology to James i. wrote, ' C'est affaire 
ayant este approfondy et avoue en leur proces (i.e. that 
of the conspirators) tant par lettres, chiffres, memoires, 

1 Bardon Papers, p. 43. 

2 Boyd, viii. 673, 678; P. F. Tytler, iv. 335, 336. It is interesting to see 
the same blood-lust in Gilbert Gifford : ' Guai a noi,' he cries, ' if they be 
ever in libertie/ etc., Domestic Elizabeth, cc. n. 65 ; cci. n. 42. 


instructions, et aultres papiers, qui furent pris en leur logis, 
ou il se trouva aulcuns de sa Majeste, que par leur propres 
adveus, recognaissances et confessions.' l Probably, how- 
ever, no letters at all were found at Babington's lodgings ; 
certainly none such as Nau here describes, i.e. some of 
Queen Mary's own letters. Indeed, as she only wrote 
twice, this amounts to saying that the original ciphers to 
Babington had been seized and were in the hands of the 
prosecution. This very gross imposition reappears also 
in Curll's apologia when discharged from prison. 

'They did show me the Queen's Majesty's letters to my 
Lord Paget, Mr. Charles Paget, Sir Francis Englefield, and the 
Spanish ambassador all penned with my own hand, 2 which 
I could not deny . . . [and they treated] the same matter 
whereof she answered to Babington. 

' Moreover, they showed me the two very letters written by 
me in cipher and received by Babington, and the true decipher- 
ments of both word by word, with the alphabet between her 
Majesty and him. 3 (MS. burnt for about 2 lines) . . . Also 
. . . the answer . . . acknowledged by Mr. Nau . . . not to 
trust Poley 4 was found written in my own hand. . . . 

* Upon which so manifest and unrecusable evidence. I could 
not deny . . . but it behoved me to confess, as I did, that I 
had deciphered Babington his principal communication to her 
Majesty, and that I received from Mr. Nau by her command- 
ment her answer thereunto, after she had read and perused the 
same in my presence, which answer I translated into English 
and after the perusing thereof by her Majesty, put it in a cipher 
as it was sent to Babington. 5 

To all who have studied the collection of papers which 
have come down to us from Phelippes these words of 

Caligula, B. v. 233. 

Of these four drafts in Curll's hand none seems to survive. 

This cipher alphabet is still extant, see above, p. clxxxv. n. 

This now only exists in Phelippes's hand. 

B.M., Caligula, D. i. f. gob, written and dated 6 August 1587. The 
burnt lines can be supplied from Harleian MS., 4647, and the reconstructed 
passage will be found in Lingard, vi. 703. Cf. F. v. Raumer, p. 327. 


Curll will seem quite incredible. ' They did show me the 
two very letters written by me in cipher, and received by 
Babington, with the true decipherments of both, word by 
word.' What can be clearer than that Curll thought that 
the two original cipher-letters to Babington, which he, 
Curll, had Englished, and put into cipher- characters, were 
in the hands of the prosecution, together with the decipher- 
ments ? And yet it was only by gross deception that both 
Curll, and also Nau, can have been separately brought to 
that opinion. For Babington was told to burn them, and 
no doubt he did so. Nor was it the secretaries only who 
were deceived. Holinshed says, ' It were needless to ex- 
press more particularly the contents of his and her letters, 
the originals themselves being extant and surprised.' 1 

How the deception was effected we cannot say. Perhaps 
the artful edition with Babington' s signatures and those of 
the Council played part in it ; perhaps also Phelippes's 
copy of the ciphers, for his hand was not unlike that of 
Curll, and he was fully primed with the malice necessary 
to play the trick, for which his letter of 4 September 2 
may have prepared the way. Anyhow, both secretaries 
had now fallen, and were henceforward pliable at Wal- 
singham's will. They, too, attested the Babington 
correspondence, though, slowly and against the grain. 

' Then must I, and do confess to have deciphered the 
like of the whole above written,' wrote Curll on the 5th of 
September, with similar forms for the other letters. Nau 
on the 6th wrote, ' Je pense de vray que c'est la lettre 
escripte par sa Majeste a Babington, comme il me souvient.' 
The statement made at the trial, that both confessed 
voluntarily, when they saw the papers, is a gross falsehood. 
They were, and with reason, in fear for their lives ; and 
they spoke only under constraint and after long resistance ; 

1 Holinshed, Chronicles, ed. 1808, iv. p. 925. 2 Above, p. clxxxviii. 


and above all, they had been grievously deceived as to tlie 
papers before them (below, p. 148). 

These statements by Mary's secretaries decided the case 
against her. They were afterwards repeated, and amplified, 
on the 21st or 23rd of September. But these elaborations 
in effect weakened the force of the previous statements, 
for the secretaries were now required to enumerate ' the 
principal points ' of the letters, in the exact words which 
Mary had used two months before. It was unlikely that 
either, impossible that each, should have remembered the 
same phrases verbatim at so long an interval. They must 
therefore, in effect, have been reading copies placed before 
them, written by Phelippes. Those further statements, 
therefore, did not contain any really new evidence. 

When the evidence of the secretaries was read in court, 
Mary rejected it with energy and some contempt. Never- 
theless it made a deep impression, and Walsingham was 
probably right, from his point of view, when he wrote next 
day to Leicester that, ' the testimony of her two secretaries 
had been sufficient proof of the matter ... so as in the 
opinion of her best friends that were appointed com- 
missioners, she is guilty.' 1 And, again, when the Queen 
was told she must die, she is reported to have said, ' Where 
is Nau ? Must I die for him ? ' showing that she felt 
fully the weight of his evidence. In her last dispositions, 
however, she wished both him and Curll to have a chance 
of justifying themselves. 2 

However deceitfully obtained, their evidence did in 
effect bring home to Mary her correspondence with 
Babington. But the responsibility for their action lay 
with those who deceived and coerced them. 

1 Caligula, C. ix. f. 502. 

2 Labanoff, vi. 487. Chantelauze, M. Stuart, 1876, p. 394; Maxwell- 
Scott, Fotheringay, p. 193 ; Jebb, ii. 663. 




Again, though the evidence of Nau and Curll was then 
made to seem so conclusive, we must also remember that 
the prosecution could have easily done without it, though 
they would have had to conduct the case differently. It 
might not then have been so easy to satisfy the public. 
Inquiry might not have been quite so effectively cut off. 
Though a just verdict was never possible, history might 
not have been so successfully silenced, or for so long a time 
as it actually has been. 

3. Queen Mary's Trial. 

Queen Mary's trial, which began on the 14th of October, 
was deeply influenced by the monstrous Band of Association, 
according to which no evidence was necessary against the 
accused. Proof that Babington had plotted against Eliza- 
beth's life for Mary's advancement, made the captive liable 
to death, whether she had consented or not. Nay more, 
her judges, perhaps without exception, had already sworn 
to pursue her to the death, if such proof were offered ; 
and Elizabeth repeatedly insisted on this in the Davison 
episode. What chance was there of men, thus pledged, 
acting with impartiality ? But by the Act of 27 Elizabeth 
(above, p. xxv.) a formal trial was required. 

As usual in such trials no witnesses were called, but 
extracts from the written confessions were read, and these 
are still in our possession. 1 We see the utmost that the 
prosecution could prove, and Mary was asked to recognise 
the handwriting of Nau and Curll. This she did not deny, 
and so the case was proved to the satisfaction of the crown 
lawyers. Elizabeth, however, before the verdict was passed, 
recalled the judicial commission to London. Eventually 
on the 29th of October, the commission passed the sentence 

B.M., Caligula, C. ix. 340-405. See below, p. 136 



of death unanimously, though Lord Zouche had found 
that, while Mary was ' privy ' to the plot, she had not 
' compassed and practised ' the Queen's death. 1 

One point in her defence, the significance of which may 
escape the casual reader, is her insistence on her being a 
queen. A queen is not bound to take cognisance of the 
plots against a neighbouring sovereign. If Mary had had 
her rights in this matter, she would have gone free. So 
far therefore, as Elizabeth's ministers could do so, she was 
deprived of royal honours from first to last. That was 
their object in the indictment, in the rude tearing down of 
her dais, in the insufferable cant of Sir Amias, in all the 
indignities heaped upon her. Yet it was impossible not 
to allow her a certain pre-eminence, and more impossible 
still for her rights not to be emphasised by the attempts 
made to obscure them. Scotland was awakened, and 
Elizabeth feared to act. That was already much, and it 
was the result of Mary's own courage. 

If it seems to us astonishing that Mary's pleas should 
have been so entirely ignored, we must also remember that 
Mary was not anxious to have every detail known. To 
have pleaded in so highly prejudiced a court that she had 
left the issue of the assassination to providence (as she 
wrote to Mendoza) would have prejudiced her greatly, 
would have been quite fatal. She therefore asserted her 
innocence and her royal dignity, and did not stand upon 
explanations which would neither have been comprehended 
nor admitted, except perhaps by Lord Zouche. 

Besides, that was all she could do. Allowed no papers, 
no witnesses, no advocate, she could do nothing but protest. 
And barbarous as this treatment was, it may have helped 

1 Hardwicke State Papers, i. 224, but I cannot find the passage in MS. 
Caligula, C. ix. f. (400) =497. Lord Zouche also said something during 
the trial which pleased Mary. Morris, p. 300. 


her in the end. Had she been in a position to fight the 
evidence, the overwhelming forensic talent against her 
must have gained an apparent victory. But her cries of 
innocence, her invocation of the divinity that hedges round 
the crown, were re-echoed from Land's End to John o' 
Groat's, and will for all time awaken the sympathy of loyal 

4. Marys Protests of Innocence. 

A word must also be said here in explanation of Mary's 
protestations of innocence. They fall into two classes : 
(1) Those found in the reports of her trial ; (2) those written 
in letters by herself. As to the former we must admit 
many possibilities of misstatement. She was inevitably 
in a state of great excitement ; and allowance should be 
made for her denying any charge till it was proved, especi- 
ally as she was tried by bitter enemies, who had no valid 
jurisdiction over her. In the enemy reporters too there 
was violent prejudice, misapprehension of her line of 
defence, and subsequent alterations of the record. 

Nevertheless, the records, if we do not stand too close 
to the letter, show Mary's mind fairly well. In her first 
answer to the commissioners, 4 She protested that she had 
not procured or encouraged any hurt against her Majesty.' l 
In her second answer, she said that her first answer was 
4 according to her meaning, and such as she was to main- 
tain.' In her third answer, she said, ' If the commissioners 
will take her word, she will affirm and say before them that 
she never meant evil to the Queen, nor to the State of 
England.' On the other hand, she said openly that she 
had sought to gain her liberty by the intervention of 
foreign arms. 

In her letters we find several passages relating to her 

Labanoff, vii. 38. 


plea. They too fall into classes. To the Duke of Guise, 
and to the Archbishop of Glasgow, she wrote accounts of 
her trial, which they were to circulate in France. In 
these she describes her pleas, but she does not go on to 
explain whether they represent her mind truly and fully, 
or only her formal pleadings. In any case they are so 
brief that we learn little from them. In the one she says : 

4 They charged me with practising against the life of their 
Queen, or to have consented thereunto. But I said, as is true, 
that I know nothing about it (que je ne scais ce que^c'est). 
They said that they had taken certain letters to one Babington 
and one Charles Paget, and his brother, which proved the 
conspiracy, and that Nau and Curll had avowed it. I said 
that they could not, unless they made them say more than they 
knew, by force of torments. " Voila tout ce que Ton m'en 
a dit." ' x 

To the Archbishop of Glasgow she wrote, dwelling on 
the religious side of her defence, but interjects : 

4 As to having plotted, counselled, or commanded her death, 
I had never done so. For my private advantage I would 
not suffer one fillip to be given her.' 

Writing to Mendoza on the 23rd November, she follows a 
different line of thought, and her statement is instructive : 

' My very dear friend . . . Praise God for me that, by His 
grace I had the courage to receive this very unjust sentence of 
the heretics with contentment, for the honour (which I esteem 
it to be) to shed my blood at the demand of the enemies of 
His Church. They honour me so much as to say, that theirs 
cannot exist, if I live. The other point they affirm to be, that 
their Queen cannot reign in security, and for the same reason. 
On both these conditions I, without contradicting them, ac- 
cepted the honour they were so anxious to confer upon me, as 
very zealous in the Catholic religion, for which I had publicly 
offered my life. 

' As to the other matter [i.e. that of Babington] although 

1 Labanoff, vi. 439. 


I had made no attempt nor taken any action to remove her 
that was in place, still as they reproached me with what is 
my right and is so considered by all Catholics, as they say, I 
did not wish to contradict them, leaving it to them to judge. 

* But they, angry at this, told me I was talking in vain : that 
I should not die for religion, but for having wanted to have 
their Queen murdered. This I denied to them, as being very 
false. Moreover, I had never attempted anything of the 
kind ; indeed, I had left it to God and the churches to settle 
for this island, and what depends upon it, in that which regards 
religion. ' This bearer [? Gorion] has promised me to tell you, 
how rigorously I have been treated by the people here, and how 
ill served by others, whom I could wish had not shown in so 
just a cause their fear of death or other inordinate passions. 
Whereas from me they only obtained the avowal that I was a 
free Queen, catholic, obedient to the Church, and that for my 
deliverance, I was obliged after having tried for it by good 
means without being able to obtain it to procure it by the 
means offered me, without consenting [i.e. approving them].' 1 

There is a distinction in her mind between ' intending to 
assassinate,' and ' leaving to God and the Churches [an odd 
phrase, perhaps misread in cipher, for " The Catholics under 
God's Providence "] to take such measures as they can,' 
as to which she bears herself a neutral. This distinction 
seems to convey her mind as clearly as she was likely to 
set it down on paper. 

Nau, her secretary, puts the matter quite plainly 
(Labanoff, vii. 208). After describing the many reasons 
she had for desiring to escape 

' Voyant par la [i.e. by Babington's offer] son eschapper luy 
estre offert et propose, elle s'est laissee aller a 1'accepter, et, 
en consequence d'icellui, donner advis pour le support estranger, 
sans se meller aucunement du troisieme poinct, ne s'estimant 
es termes ou elle se voyoit estre obligee de la reveller.' 

1 Labanoff, vi. 458, 459, dated 23 November. It did not reach 
Mendoza until 15 October 1587, ten months later ; after Mary's servants 
were allowed to depart. See the Spanish Calendar, 1587, pp. 152-5- 


On the scaffold Mary is reported to have protested 

' As for the death of the Queen your sovereign, I call God to 
witness that I never imagined it, never sought it, nor ever 
consented to it.' 

None of these protests are inconsistent with Mary's 
extant letter to, Babington, in which Elizabeth's death is 
nowhere suggested, counselled, or commanded. Some dis- 
claimers, like that to Archbishop Beaton, ' Je ne souffrirois 
que, pour mon particulier, une chiquenaud luy fust donnee,' 
' I would not suffer her to receive a fillip for my particular 
interests,' 1 are overstated. This may well have repre- 
sented her normal attitude towards the Queen, but on the 
day when the hope of escape was dangled before her, other 
feelings passed through her mind. Still on the whole, con- 
sidering her very trying circumstances and the secrets 
she still had to keep, the exaggeration is very slight. 
Taken together, her declarations of innocence do not over- 
shoot the mark. She did not plead falsely. 

5. The Execution. . 

Finally on the 8th of February came the execution, the 
glorious day of Mary's everchanging fortunes. Never did 
she show greater courage, greater love, greater humanity. 
On this occasion her foils were Henry Grey, Earl of Kent, 
and Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough ; fanatics indeed, both 
rude and inhuman, but just the men to stimulate her to her 
highest flights. They worried themselves little with the 
arguments about her complicity, but exulted openly in the 
hope of washing their hands in her blood. ' Your life would 
be the death of our religion,' said the Earl on the evening 
of his arrival, ' your death will be its life.' 

These words gave Mary a keen satisfaction, and she 

Labanoff, vi. 468. 


returned to them that evening frequently and with smiles. 
4 Oh, how happy Lord Kent's words have made me ! Here 
at last is the truth. They told me I was to die because I 
had plotted against the Queen, and here is Lord Kent sent 
to convert me, and he says I am to die on account of my 
religion ' (Chantelauze, p. 393). 

Yet this woman was no milk-and-water saint. That 
evening she had spoken bitterly of her son as having 
betrayed her. ' You should die at peace with all men,' 
cried the carping puritans. ' I forgive every one, and 
accuse no one,' was Mary's ready answer ; ' yet I may 
follow David's example and pray God to confound and 
punish His enemies, and those of His divinity and religion ; 
and to pardon my own enemies.' That same night she 
sent a long message to King Philip bidding him remember, 
if the Armada were successful, that Walsingham, Burghley, 
and their party had been his worst enemies as well as hers. 1 

The last night was passed in arranging little presents 
for her servants, in writing her last letters, and in prayer, 
for she had been cruelly refused the services of her chaplain, 
de Preau. When Shrewsbury and Kent came to lead her 
out next morning, it was before the little altar that they 
found her. At first they wished to separate her at once 
from all her servants ; but at her prayers and tears, she 
was allowed the service, of four men-servants and two maids 
for her last unrobing. 

After the sentence had been read by Beale, Fletcher 
came forward, and despite Mary's objections, began a long 
denunciation of popery, during which the Queen read her 
book of Hours. When quiet had been restored, she prayed 
for some time in English for the peace of Christendom, for 
the conversion of England, for her son, for Elizabeth, for 

1 Chantelauze, Journal de Bomgoing, 1876, p. 575 ; Spanish Calendar, 
1587, p. 155. 


all her enemies. Then came the disrobing, Mary bravely 
controlling her tearful ladies, while the brutal hangman 
Bull of Tyburn, stepping in, wrested from them the cross 
from Mary's neck, which he claimed and kept as his 
perquisite. Amid breathless silence Mary's gentle prayer, 
4 In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meumj was 
heard throughout the hall ; Shrewsbury by a sign gave 
the signal to Bull, and then turned away. Two blows and 
the neck was severed ; a third and the head rolled upon 
the scaffold. Picking it up, Bull cried, ' God save Queen 
Elizabeth ' ; while Kent standing over the corpse with his 
white wand, and supported by the Dean, called out, 4 So 
perish all her enemies. Amen.' 



The interest attaching to Queen Mary's wonderful 
personality is so great, that when she is taken away, all 
else seems to fade into insignificance. But before we 
close our account of the plot, some final words must be 
said about a number of secondary subjects and less im- 
portant persons, who have passed before us. 

1. In the first place we must agree that the death of 
Mary ended in success for that revolutionary protestantism, 
which had perfidiously achieved it. The failure of the 
Armada in the year following, with the assassination of the 
Guises and the advent of the Huguenot Henri iv. to the 
throne of France, were all disappointments or disasters 
to the cause of the ancient religion. Without question 
the permanency of the new religion gained much from the 
removal of the catholic heiress. When Doctor Allen was 
made a cardinal, Pope Sixtus mentioned in consistory, as 


the primary reason for his act, the desire to make up, as 
far as he could, for the loss and discouragement caused by 
Queen Mary's death. As far back as 1582 Mendoza had 
told King Philip that Mary's courage was, as it were, the 
heart of political aspiration among catholics. 1 

The actual loss to Catholicism, however, fell chiefly upon 
those who had already yielded much to the persecution. 
The total number in the seminaries did not notably change, 
but rather tended to increase ; so too did the number of 
priests in England and the flocks to which they ministered. 
For the fervent Mary's death was something near to 
martyrdom, and sanguis martyrum, semen ecclesice. 

But hope of political success began to' fail. Both 
England and Scotland were now firmly held by the re- 
formers. Heretofore there had been many a chance that 
in one or other country a split might be effected, which 
would end in the majority regaining their religious freedom. 
It was not that Mary's friends were very efficient, or her 
propaganda very powerful, it was her rights as Queen and 
heiress which appealed continually to the great conservative 
majority, who were also at heart inclined to the ancient 
religion. But now Mary's natural rights were devolving 
on her protestant son. 

Had it not been for Elizabeth's extraordinary tyranny 
in not allowing her successor to be named, the issues raised 
by Mary's death would have been settled sooner than they 
eventually were. But so long as the English Queen pre- 
vented the recognition of James, she was virtually fostering 
the claims put forward by those extremists who advocated 
the claims of the remoter descendants, whether catholic 
or protestant, of the House of Lancaster. 

2. Next after Queen Mary, our curiosity will probably 
turn to the rascals whom Walsingham employed in his 

1 Spanish Calendar, 1582, 9 February and i April, pp. 291, 323. 


work of darkness : and first to Gilbert Gifford. There is, 
however, but little to add to the record of his correspond- 
ence, below, pp. 118 to 130. His course tended steadily 
downwards, and his new start was to get himself sacri- 
legiously ordained a priest, in order to carry on his 
abominable trade with greater success. Not only Wal- 
singham and Phelippes, but Elizabeth too took interest in 
the fortunes of this clever scoundrel, who was awarded the 
then handsome pension of 100 a year for sending ' in- 
telligence ' which might excite the interest of her Majesty. 

But this gleam of fortune did not last long. Not only 
did he get into serious trouble with the English ambassador 
in Paris, but he was arrested in a brothel in December 1587. 
Being a priest, he was confined to the Archbishop's prison, 
from which he never came out alive. 

Efforts indeed were made by Phelippes to help him, 
and in some details these efforts were successful. An 
endeavour to prosecute him was made by the Nuncio in 
Paris, in the absence of any English catholic bishop with 
jurisdiction over him. But no evidence against him was 
obtainable. No one knew how Queen Mary had been 
entrapped ; there were no papers of importance. Richard 
Verstegan, the author, is said to have got up the case 
against him, and to have worked this up into a little book. 
William Pierce and George Birkhead (who became men 
of some note among the English clergy in later years, and 
were then taking their degree of Doctors at the Sorbonne) 
helped to prepare the case against the accused. But 
neither Morgan nor Paget, neither Nau nor Curll, would, 
or perhaps could, give effective evidence. The result was 
that about March 1588 the case was abandoned. When 
the papers of the Paris Nuntiature are in better order, more 
information will perhaps be forthcoming. At present the 
evidence about it is very scant indeed. Verstegan' s book 


is said to have been bought up by money provided by 
Lord Paget, and destroyed. 

Gifford would now almost certainly have worked himself 
free but for that book against the Jesuits, of which we 
have heard before. Phelippes is said to have sent it over 
to Lily, one of Gilbert's enemies in the house of the English 
ambassador, Stafford, who had reasons of his own for 
taking sides very strongly against the imprisoned spy. 
Grately too was imprisoned at Padua before August, also 
on account of this luckless book. 1 We shall later on find 
the book brought up again against Morgan. 

Gifford and Grately lingered on for two years in their 
respective cells, Gilbert dying about the beginning of 
November 1590. His secrets were buried with him, until 
' the opening of the Archives ' in the last century, when 
his letters and those of Phelippes came to light. It is a 
sad story certainly which they tell, for the mischief- 
maker had once been a clever and attractive fellow. 
Fortune gave him the choice between doing great good and 
great evil ; he chose the latter, and by his treachery to- 
wards the hapless Queen, ruined himself in destroying her. 

3. Next after Gifford as an evil genius, most people will 
reckon Thomas Phelippes. It is clear from all the secret 
correspondence, and even from the preparation for the 
trial, that he had, in his sphere, an almost free hand, and a 
heart even more viciously set on bloodshed than his master. 
Some have praised his skill as a decipherer in terms as 
high as though his talent had been phenomenal. But in 

1 It appears that the book was in the form of two letters, one from a 
Jesuit in Transylvania to a Dominican in Rome, in which he exaggerates 
and belauds the doings of his order in England. The other letter is the 
answer of the Dominican. In this the Jesuit's claims are, of course, over- 
thrown and condemned with great emphasis, and living persons, especially 
Father Persons, are freely introduced and reproved. No existing copy has 
yet been recognised. C. Grene, MS. Notes for Bartoli, E. f . 30. 


this particular case he had really no scope for extraordinary 
powers, because from the very first a new set of cipher 
keys was introduced, of which he at once obtained copies. 
The actual deciphering was therefore always quite 

As to his good faith, it is true that we cannot rely upon 
it where it stands alone, especially when he was speaking 
or writing against Mary. The history of the postscript and 
of the drafts for Mary's letter prove this beyond a doubt. 
But other corroborative considerations may sometimes 
come into play, and give his word a new value. I think his 
loyalty to Walsingham does supply one such corroboration. 
There may, after all, be honour among thieves. I have 
tested his deciphers for Walsingham repeatedly, and I have 
always found them truthful. In unimportant letters he 
sometimes abbreviates ; sometimes he makes the sense 
clearer, but in ways which Walsingham would presumably 
have approved. Examples will be found in the later 
correspondence with Gilbert Gifford. 

During the small residue of Walsingham' s life (he died 
April 1590) Phelippes continued to prosper ; and in June 
1590, I find a letter addressed to him (but perhaps in error) 
as a Secretary of the Council. 1 After this his creditors 
began to press him more urgently ; most of the year 1596 
was passed in prison. He was then occupied in sending 
out discouraging news to Charles Paget and other exiles, 
and for this purpose he made much use of Thomas Barnes. 
He also traded for Spanish largess, by supplying news. 
In 1607 he was again under arrest ; in 1622 he petitioned 
for some minor post in the Church of England (!), as a 
relief from his long struggle with debt. It is needless to 
inquire into the details of his later years. Enough to say, 

1 He really held the very lucrative post of Collector of Customs for 
the harbour of London. Domestic Calendar, 1590, p. 675. 


though a clever fellow and faithful to Walsingham, he was 
a spendthrift, without steadfastness or credit. 

4. Much the same may be said of Poley. After a year's 
imprisonment pro forma, during which he was believed to 
have poisoned Richard Creagh, the saintly Archbishop of 
Armagh, he was freed and employed in the diplomatic 
service, as a special messenger to Denmark in 1588. But 
in 1589 he was in prison again, charged with ' lewd words 
against Walsingham,' and then with seducing his gaoler's 
wife. In 1593 he was employed as a spy in Flanders and 
again in 1595. Men like this are the reverse of a credit 
to their country, and the same may be said of Mawde, 
Barnes, and others of Walsingham' s crew. Of the mis- 
fortunes of Secretary Davison I have nothing special to 
say here. They did not exactly befall him in consequence 
of Babington, but because of his royal mistress, whose 
ideas of honour were capricious. Though as a rule she 
accepted the opinions of the ministers she had chosen, she 
sometimes showed strong resentment at being managed 
by them. 

Of the conspirators little remains to be said. Their 
personal property was confiscated by the crown, 1 and 
granted to the Queen's favourites, especially to Sir Walter 
Raleigh, 2 whose name had been mentioned by Babington 
quit'e casually, as the patron of Langhorn or Flyer, obscure 
and probably harmless persons, of whom Ballard had 
formed some baseless hopes. It looks as though Elizabeth 
wished to recompense the imagined injury done by having 
been mentioned by a man condemned for treason. 

Walsingham' s underhand encouragement of the plot was 
sufficiently known to make catholic apologists ascribe the 

1 R.O., Miscellanea of the Exchequer, 15/3, nn. 7, 8. 

2 For Babington's property and its redistribution, see The Reliquary, 
April 1862, pp. 177-99, by W. Durrant Cooper, above, p. civ. 


guilt of it primarily to him, and to represent Mary and also 
' the twelve gentlemen ' as victims to religious odium. But 
their names were not enrolled in the long catalogues of 
martyrs, so frequent in the late sixteenth and early seven- 
teenth centuries. This is the more noteworthy when we 
remember that, in some preface or parenthesis, hardly any 
of these lists fail to mention the case of the Queen of Scots 
as a vivid illustration in its way of hatred towards the 
catholic faith on the part of Elizabeth's government. 1 

5. Turning now to Mary's friends and servants, a few 
more words still seem needful about Thomas Morgan. 
That his indiscretions were a primary cause of the Queen's 
death appears but too clearly from what we have already 
seen ; but to what extent Mary was aware of it, is un- 
certain. During her trial she defended him briefly but 
warmly, when he was charged by Lord Burghley with 
having tempted Parry to plot. She declared that she had 
4 terrified the man from any further such attempt.' Alas, 
a complete illusion ! She should certainly have discharged 
him for his low standards in the matter of political assas- 
sination. The fact seems to be that Mary, brought up amid 
the turmoils of civil war and revolution, did not sufficiently 
oppose fighting and quarrelling among her followers. She 
highly esteemed Morgan for his impetuous activity in her 
service, and his zeal to procure her news. From early 

1 An analysis of the martyr-lists for this year 1587 will be found in 
Catholic Record Society, v. p. 10. The analysis shows the frequency with 
which her name recurs, but of course not the modifications under which 
it is found in each case. For these Challoner's Missionary Priests (vol. i. 
under No. 41) may be consulted as a model. 

The ' twelve gentlemen ' are never mentioned in the martyr-catalogues. 
But Brother Henry Foley, S. J., by inadvertence, has placed Ballard in his 
miscellaneous list of sufferers for religion. He was, however, so far 
from recognising his man, that he describes him conjecturally as having 
died in prison ! Further on he mentions Ballard's alias of ' Thomson ' 
as though this were the real name of yet another, hitherto unknown, 
sufferer. Records, S.J., iii. 801, 808. 


years she passionately loved the receipt and discussion of 
news. Randolph, then English agent at Edinburgh, 
frequently mentions it in his dispatches. This amiable 
weakness now proved her undoing. Poulet would glut 
his cruelty, sometimes by ' keeping her fasting from all 
news ' sometimes by reporting to her the calamities of 
her friends. This to his diseased imagination was ' like 
throwing salt in her eyes.' 

Morgan played on the same weak point, but in the 
opposite way ; he staked her life and fortunes on the safe 
arrival of her letters. Neither man nor mistress realised 
the ruin which might follow. We cannot at this distance 
of time profess to state exactly where his chief indiscretions 
lay ; but if Morgan had taken the obvious precaution of 
inquiring from the heads of Gilbert Gifford's seminary, 
whether he were a safe man in whose hands to place the 
Queen's life, he would surely have received an answer 
that would have effectively prevented that young man's 

But whatever the extent of Morgan's responsibility, 
Mary's warm appeals for him to Mendoza and her other 
friends proved ultimately to be his fortune. Mendoza 
procured for him a small pension, and the Pope, at the 
suggestion of another Welshman, Owen Lewis, Bishop of 
Cassano, pressed for his release, which was now granted, 
though Elizabeth was deeply offended. 

Morgan and Charles Paget would take no effective part 
in the prosecution of Gilbert Gifford, which clearly showed 
their fear of being countered by him. In 1588 Mendoza 
sent them to Flanders in the interests of the Armada. They 
went, and entered again into correspondence with Phelippes, 
but whether for the profit of their new paymasters or 
not seems doubtful. Morgan was soon in difficulties 
again ; possibly they arose out of that luckless book against 
the Jesuits, which had in part been laid to his charge by 


Gilbert Gifford. Morgan's examination, taken 12 February 
1590, will be found in the Spanish Calendar. The examiners 
were hostile in tone to him ; and their report was sent to 
King Philip before action was taken upon it. A counter- 
protest in Morgan's favour was issued by the Bishop of 
Cassano on the 24th following. 1 The evidence on both 
sides was very inconclusive. Eventually, after two years, 
he was freed, but had to leave Flanders. 

From Brussels he wandered to Turin, where he obtained, 
again through Owen Lewis, a Papal letter of commendation 
to the King of Spain. Going on to Spain, he was at Madrid 
when Cardinal Allen died in October 1594, on which 
occasion he began to urge the advancement of Owen Lewis 
to the cardinalate with so much vigour that attention was 
attracted to him, and to the fact of his banishment from 
Flanders. This led to his expulsion from Madrid, after 
which he returned to Paris. 

Upon the accession of King James in 1603, Morgan 
thought that his hour of fortune had arrived. He began 
to write to him, just as he had addressed Mary, in long, 
inflated, egotistical letters. The ' French Correspondence ' 
in the Record Office contains seven such missives between 
14 August 1603 and 4 July 1605. But between those 
dates there had been renewed troubles. He had gone back 
to England, where he was promptly imprisoned, then 
deported. Then he became involved in a French court 
intrigue, connected with the custody of the natural 
children of Henri iv., which led to a new imprisonment in 
the Bastille, from June 1604 to April 1605. The last of his 
letters to James which I have seen is dated 4 June 1608, 
at which time he had again returned to England and was 
again in prison. How this adventure ended is not known. 
He is believed to have died not long after. 

1 Dodd, Church History of England, 1737, ii. 267. 

A fr-n 


A troubled life certainly ; and the contests are all with 
men of his own side, and such as others avoided. The 
brighter side of his character consisted in his energetic 
devotion to his mistress. He thoroughly understood how 
to please her, and he was untiring in his efforts to serve. 
So far as I can see,- he was both faithful and steadfast : 
but he was far indeed from being the man to whom 
authority and a high place could safely be given, and his 
political morality was low. 

Mary was ever as strangely bad a judge of men (con- 
sidering her great qualities) as Elizabeth was a good one. 
This weakness is strikingly manifest in the story now told. 
Mary has been entirely mistaken, not only in Gilbert 
Gifford, Barnes, and his gang of rogues, but also in Bab- 
ington and Nau, in Morgan and Mendoza. If she had but 
kept Morgan in his own humble position, how different 
might not the end have been ! l 

6. Charles Paget was the associate of Morgan in all that 
led to Mary's downfall ; and he was the less excusable in 
that he was free, could go about and make inquiries. On 
the other hand, he was far more deep and artful than his 
Welsh leader, and cunningly succeeded in extricating him- 
self from the consequences of his misdeeds. A gentleman 
of means, there are ominous rumours that his voluntary 
exile was due less to religion than to being mixed up in a 
divorce suit. 2 Like Morgan, he let Gilbert Gifford escape, 
and then went with a Spanish pension to Flanders to join 
the Armada. Keeping clear of Morgan's violent quarrels, 
he perceived, before long, that the future lay with King 
James, after which he gave every kind of underhand 

1 For Morgan's later life, besides many references in the Domestic 
Calendars, and those for Spain and Hatfield, and the Catalogues of the 
British Museum, see especially Titus, B. vii. 414, and Additional MSS. 
30,609, ff. 966 to 112. 

2 Catholic Record Society, ii. 183. 



assistance to the Scottish succession. When this made his 
position as a Spanish pensioner untenable, he slipped over 
to France, and in 1598 appealed to Elizabeth for mercy. 
As a sign of the thoroughness of his change of mind he 
volunteered to betray catholics, and sent in a list of charges. 
The first of these was that the Jesuits had encouraged 
Savage in his conspiracy, that is to say in the very con- 
spiracy in which he had himself been a ringleader. 1 But 
he was ironically told that the memory of his treasons was 
all too fresh for him to expect pardon. Phelippes, more- 
over, out of spite, sent his list of charges to Flanders, with 
disagreeable consequences for Paget, 2 

But when King James succeeded, Paget' s assiduous 
courting of that monarch obtained its reward. He was 
allowed home, was pardoned his crimes, and received 
several handsome grants from the crown. He was now 
able to take revenge on Phelippes ; 3 and, for all we know, 
lived happily the rest of his days. A dishonourable, dis- 
agreeable character ; neither in good nor in evil fortune 
was he the man to be Queen Mary's counsellor. 

7. Of Gilbert Curll and Jacques Nau there is little more 
to say. Mary called them disloyal, because she did not see 
through the garbled accounts put out by the government, 
and because she was never told of the quasi-impossibility 
of their denying their own handwriting. In reality they 

1 Paget's charges may be conveniently found in the Domestic Calendar 
for 1598, p. 68, with answers by Verstegan, p. 234, and by Persons 
(Stonyhurst MSS., Anglia, ii. 46 ; also R.O., Roman Transcripts, Bundle 86). 

2 This correspondence, which is bulky, may be found in the Domestic 
Calendars for 1598, etc., the Additional Calendar, especially p. 215, where 
Barnes calls him ' an inconstant fellow, full of practices, true to no side.' 
In the corresponding Spanish Calendar he is found tendering his services 
to Spain, p. 671. The Spaniards offer to take his information, but 
they agree that they won't pay, unless his news turns out to be true. 

3 Phelippes, from the Tower, about April 1606, writes that ' Paget's 
malice causes his troubles.' Domestic Calendar, p. 314. 


had good excuses ; but they were not heroes. They even 
appeared in the Star Chamber, swore to their confessions, 
and blamed Mary in public. That was not loyal. But 
they were then broken men, overwhelmed with grief and 
fear. After another year of close imprisonment, they were 
returned to France, and it was said that Nau would examine 
Gilbert Gifford, but he never did so. In his final defence 1 
sent to King James, he can only say that he ' thought ' that 
Gifford or Poley had been the traitors who brought about 
the catastrophe. This shows how little he knew, and how 
well Phelippes's secrets were kept. It is a disgrace to 
King James that he should have left those doubts unsolved. 
For the rest Nau's apology, though a good one, would please 
us better if there had been fewer protests. 

8. Mendoza did not leave the Paris embassy with a 
heightened reputation. Philip had sent him there as an 
answer to the insolence of Elizabeth's government in ex- 
pelling him from England. But the ambassador's hot 
temper did not cool with time, and made him many an 
adversary amongst his own followers, as well as among his 
political opponents. He grew nearly blind, had to trust 
entirely to subordinates ; and we have seen the facility 
with which Gilbert befooled him. He took the side of 
Morgan and Paget against the other English catholic 
exiles, which did not tend to peace, On the other hand, 
he bore himself with distinguished courage during the 
memorable siege of Paris in 1590. Finally he returned old 
and out of favour ; rather a sad ending, considering the 
courage with which he had so long defended an untenable 
position. But de Quadra and de Silva, who had been 
ambassadors before him, were far more successful in 
diplomacy than he. 

B.M., Caligula, B. v. 233-7, unprinted. 


9. One frequently reads in our popular handbooks of 
history that Elizabeth's life was the object of perpetual 
plots on the part of catholics. Does the history we have 
just finished support the contention that plots were wide- 
spread ? Doubtless the existence of men like Morgan and 
Ballard does make to some extent in favour of the popular 
theory ; and again when there was so much cruel persecution, 
one cannot wonder at the rise of some such characters as 
theirs. Nor can we be surprised if some exiles, in despera- 
tion, thought of desperate remedies. Yet what is clearer 
than that on English soil this plot could not have pro- 
gressed an inch without Walsingham's active assistance ? 
Walsingham's victims only began to plot some months 
after he had furnished them with the opportunity, and 
with the tempters to lure them on. He need never have 
given them those incentives ; he need never have let them 
begin. Had there been any real danger he could and 
would have arrested them immediately. That Elizabeth 
was ever in the least peril, either from this or any other 
conspiracy, still stands without any historical proof. 

This book has been some years upon the stocks. Begun 
in 1907, I could not complete it until Mr. Boyd's Calendars 
had covered the period under review. After the war it 
was difficult at first to find any means of bringing the book 
before the public. I have once more to thank my colleague, 
Father P. Ryan, whose accuracy and care in collation, and 
in the re-deciphering of the secret correspondence has 
been invaluable. I have also once again to thank Mr. 
Mills for admirable craftmanship in compiling the Index, 
and Mr. J. E. Neale for his care in revising proofs. 


16 March 1922. 



QUEEN MARY'S SECRET POST. The institution of this post has already 
been explained, Introduction, iii. The first letter was passed in by 
Gilbert Gifford on the 16th of January ; and by degrees more and more 
followed, until in March Mary began to receive the packets which had 
arrived for her at the French embassy during the past few years, but 
which could not be sent on before. It naturally took a longish time to 
decipher, read, arid digest these letters, and so her letters out became 
few. For this and other reasons Gifford got leave for a holiday abroad. 
Writing to Curll, 24 April/4 May (below, p. 99), to say that a second 
substitute would take his place, Thomas Barnes came ushered in by 
introductory letters, composed in the deceitful style of Phelippes and 
Gifford. These little fictions so evidently pleased Mary that the de- 
ceivers maintained until the end the soothing allurements which they 
had attached to the name of Barnes, which name was improved to the 
more familiar and endearing form of Barnaby. In reality, however, 
Thomas Barnes was used as a letter carrier twice only, 

THE CORRESPONDENTS. (i.) On Mary's side the penman is always 
Gilbert Curll, her secretary for English, an accurate, faithful, well- 
mannered clerk who wrote an excellent hand, but does not display any 
other great gift. Though accurate, he was not infallible, and he was 
especially troubled by the introduction of the c New Style ' in October 
1582 (see Introduction, p. Ixiv.). England had not yet adopted it, and 
was therefore ten days behind France, Spain, and Rome, which had 
done so. As it was with these countries that Mary's diplomatic cor- 
respondence was chiefly conducted, she employed it when writing to 
them ; though at Chartley itself the old style remained in use. Bour- 
going's Journal, for instance, follows this style. Hence we should 
have expected that when writing to Barnes, Curll would have used the 
old style ; and we can see from his slips that he was much inclined to 
do so. Indeed, it may be that his first letter (No. 2) really was in the 
old style. 

But Phelippes perhaps craftily (wishing to improve his disguise by 
adopting a Catholic style), perhaps because he already knew (through 


intercepted letters) that Mary sometimes used new style took this date 
also for new style, and told Curll that he would follow that style (p. 11). 
Curll accordingly did the same, and we find this style used in all letters 
addressed to Barnes. But when Mary wrote to the unrecognised 
messenger, No. 5a, or to Babiugton, No. 7, she again used old style. 

(ii.) The outside correspondent in all cases was presumably Phelippes. 
This appears by the handwriting itself in the later letters, and in his 
hand we also have the first words of No. 4. Letters 1 and 3 are not 
in his hand, but considering what an important part they took in his 
scheme of deception, and remembering that he was not the man to leave 
important matters without personal supervision, the conclusion as to 
their authorship, or at least as to their dependence on him, is fairly certain, 
and is confirmed by the unity of style, of craft, of character, with his 
other letters. If they were penned by his confidant Gilbert, they would 
have been either written in his office or communicated to him later 
(below, p. 101, n. ). The signature, however, of all these outside letters is 
that of Barnes, who here goes under the byname of Barnaby, represented 
by the cipher sign ff. A few words about him will not be superfluous in 
order to take the measure of his slippery character. 

Thomas Barnes appears to have begun as a Catholic. He speaks of 
himself as e having endured somewhat for conscience ' (Confession, 1, 6), 
while to Mary he wrote of his 'long imprisonment' (No. 3). He was 
also familiar with the martyr-priest Stephen Rowsham (Confession, 6). 
It seems therefore that his mission may have begun in good faith, under 
the spell thrown over him by ' his cousin Gilbert,' who had tested 
his pliability by sponging on him for lodgings (Confession, 1), and 
had found him responsive to offers of money (below, p. 3). Gilbert 
having promised him some work, f agreeable indeed to the service of 
God,' but ' greatly to his commodity,' began by making him copy out 
certain cipher-keys, then prevailed on him to become Mary's postman 
(whilst he, Gilbert, was away), to fetch letters to and from the French 
ambassador. But ' what their contents were, or whose, I was not [made] 
acquainted' (Confession, 2). Gilbert did not at first tell Phelippes the 
name of Barnes. He mentioned that later, on the 7th of July (below, 
p. 104). To Sir Amias and also to Phelippes the man was first known 
as ' the second messenger' (Morris, Letters of Sir Amias Poukt, 1874, 
pp. 210, 213), or ' your friend's [i.e. Gilbert's] substitute in London' 
(Morris, p. 212). 

I take Barnes to have been a weak, impecunious, venal fellow, whom 
Gilbert had recognised as a tool who would be useful to any daring 
villain ; for he would sign or deliver as his own, without knowing its con- 
tents, any letter put before him ; as the papers below most clearly show. 
When the tragedy was over, Gilbert wrote from France to Phelippes 
(end of 1586), ' If you have Barnes, keep him close ; if you have him not, 
I would you had him in. your hands' (below, p. 123; Boyd, ix. 220). 
But it was March 1588 before Phelippes ' had him in his hands,' and ex- 


tracted the following inedited Confession, which is our chief authority 
for Barnes's life : 


[17 March 1588.] 

R.O. Dom. Eliz., vol. 199, n. 86. Barnes's autograph, undated. On the same 
day he wrote a letter offering himself as a spy, and sending on this paper. This 
letter is printed in Morris, p. 379, from M.Q.S. xxi. n. 26, and is dated 17 March 


1.] To the first I answer that about the myddell of Easter 
tearme next shalbe two yeares, my Cosen Gylbert (having had a 
moneth or two before recourse to my chamber, as lodginge most 
commonlye or at the lest wyse at his pleasure w th me) brake w th 
me, as he tearmed hit, in a peece of service, w ch (in respect of the 
conscience I professed & had indured somewhat therfore) should 
be agreable to the service of God & redounde likewise most greatlie 
to my commoditie. Upon w ch & the like persuasions I did under- 
take to convaye such letters unto the Q. of Scottes as should be 
sent from him or Morgan, and I made several alphabets for divers 
persons, as one for the Queene, an other for Morgan, the thyrde for 
my Cosen, the fourthe for my selfe, and the last for Savage to directe 
unto me those letters, by [sic] w ch might by chance come unto his 
handes from beyonde, at my remaynder or abode in the cuntreye. 

2.] As touchinge the seconde [question] ; my Cosen Gyfforde 
delivered me a packett of letters, sealed up w th divers scales, w ch 
he him selfe had receaved, as he told me, to convaye ; but havinge 
other occasions of busynes, presentlie to passe the seas, and havinge 
thouroughlie perswaded me to take upon me those matters in his 
absence, willed me, accordinge unto his instructions, to deliver 
them to the Queene of Scottes Brewar, w ch dwelt at Burton upon 
Trent, in a howse w ch was sometimes the Lord Pagetts. W ch I 
effected accordinglie ; although not so soone, in respect of my 
sicknes at that present, as I promised ; but what the contentes 
were or whose, I was not acquainted w th but thus farre, that my 
Cosen tolde me they came from Morgan. 

3.] To the third e, I protest upon my fay the and salvation, that 
I was not particularlie acquainted w th any enterprise against her 
Maiestie, as sithens is more then manifest, was then in hande ; yet 
notwithstandinge did gather by some generall speeches cast out by 
Savage and my cosen at our sundrie meetinges that ther was some 
extraordinarie matter to be putt in execution ; but when or what, 


I was altogether ignorante. Of George Gyfforde I never harde any 
mention, nether was I acquainted w th any of them that suffered, 
but Savage and Charnocke. 

4.] Touchinge the fourthe, I confesse I wrote to the Queene, 
and hit was at that time as I convayed the packett aforesayd. The 
effect I neede not to declare ; because you have hit extante : but 
answer I receaved none againe ; though I had ben divers times 
in hande w th the Brewar, for one. 1 

5.] Concerninge the fifte, I do most certainlie assure you that 
my Cosen Gilbertt did not acquainte me w th the name of any other 
but him selfe (whose turne he persuaded me to supplie) that 
should deale in that intelligence w th the Queene. For, yf he had, 
I should not so willinglye have taken the matter in hande ; as more 
certainelye subiect to perill & danger. 

6.] To the sixte, I answer that I never acqainted any man or 
woman w th the particulars of my dealinges for the Queene ; but 
only this, as I was in iorneye towardes Burton w tb the aforesayd 
packett, I mett one Rowsam a preste 2 at Stretforde upon Haven 
on foote, whom I requested to pray for me, because I had divers 
thinges about me w th the w ch , yf I should be apprehended, would 
turne me to as great trouble as I had sustained afore, yf not more. 
7.] As touchinge the seventh, I confesse I receaved one letter 
from Morgan, wherin he gave me to understande that he had 
recommended me and my service unto the Queene. 

8.] To the last I answer that I never harde but two wayes howe 
the conspiracie was revealed : the first should be by Savage's boye, 
w ch was the generall voyce allmost of all men at that time that I 
harde talke of hit; the seconde was that hit should be descried 

1 This, however, was not Mary's fault. Gilbert carried Mary's letter to 
him (and presumably also his tip) to London early in July, and it will be 
found below, No. 6 (see Morris, pp. 217-20). 

When Barnes says that he interviewed the brewer ' divers times,' this 
does not signify that he made more than two journeys as a letter carrier 
to London, but that he went to see ' the honest man ' at home, or in his 
neighbourhood, in May or June when no letters were coming out, and 
asked vainly for a letter. 

2 This was the martyr Stephen Rowsham, for whose biography see 
Burton and Pollen, Lives of English Martyrs, i. 279-87. As he was 
already dead Barnes does not mind calling him a priest. He had returned 
from exile in the February 1586, but nothing is known of his labours in 

Shakespeare's Country.' He was arrested in Gloucestershire in the * 
house of Widow Strange, and executed for his priesthood about March 


by my Cosen Gylberte, and that I never harde but once, and 
that was at Candelraas tearme last was twelue moneth, by one 
Yardeleye, 1 prisoner in the Clynke at that time. 


From thenceforward Barnes surrendered entirely to Phelippes, and 
spent his days in worming- himself into the confidences of Catholics like 
Charles Paget, writing him letters according to headings provided by 
Phelippes, while Paget supplied him with such secrets as he could 
extract from his patrons the Spaniards, on whose alms he was living. 
Our Calendars of State Papers provide superabundant evidence of these 
treacheries till the end of Elizabeth's reign. 

To return to the correspondence before us. Barnes acted as Gilbert's 
substitute during the two journeys made to France by the latter, from 
about 24 April to 25 May, and from 6 to 26 June. Poulet then became 
suspicious of substitutes (see Introduction, vii. No. 4), and they were 
discharged : Morris, p. 212 (29 June) and p. 217 (7 July). Barnes does 
not reappear. Curll, indeed, continues to write to him until the end, 
but it is Phelippes who answers him under the name of Barnes. 

No. 1 

[London, 28 April 1586.] 

Hatfield MSS., Cecil papers 164/55 ; Calendar, Hi. p. 180 ; called 28 April in No. 5 
beloiv. Original decipher by Curll on a half -sheet of pot-paper. From No. 5 
below we learn that it arrived a week before No. 2, i.e. on 13 May. This is pro- 
bably 'new' style, therefore = 3/13 May. But there is also the possibility of 
the style being ' old ' ; and then the date of arrival would be 13/23, which 
would suit the circumstances better. As ciphers do not have punctuation, 
capitals, or paragraphs, wherever such things occur, here and hereafter, they 
are later or editorial additions. 

S R , Having taken uppon me the charge of the packets 
at London, there was some cause of my stay [? afore] the 
delyvery and wilbe for a tyme, wherupon I have sent 
them downe to my brother, 2 who, I am sure, will tak 

1 For Roger Yardley, alias Bruerton, see Cath. Rec. Soc. ii. and xxi. 

2 This ' brother ' is a mystification not yet fully cleared up. He seems 
to be later on called ' Emilio ' in the endorsements to No. g and to No. 16. 
Phelippes later on wanted an explanation of the name from Gilbert, who 
would not give one ; thus perhaps showing that he had already told in- 
consistent stories about it. Eventually they agreed that it should be 


order for the sauf conveyance according to the plott layed 
by T] [cipher sign for Gilbert Gifford}. 

I will not trouble yow w m many wordes, especially in 
this unacquainted and cumbersome maner of wryting 
towching my devotion towardes her maiestie, which I 
intend to shew by deedes and not by circumstance of 
speache. I pray God only my habilite may answer myne 
owne desire and her maiesties expectation, and I shall 
think my self happy to have bene any instrument of her 

I am humbly to crave at her maiesties handes and 
yours that the intelligence wrought by us be not made 
common to any other of her servantes 1 then suche as have 
ther address from the AmJ3as[sador] of fr[ance] at london, 
at whose handes whatsoever we receave shall surely cum 
to her handes ; as, on the other syde, whatsoever yow 
delyver unto the honest man, your domesticall frende, 
will cum sauf [to this] cuntry, I can assure yow, as the 
matter is ordered. It wer to small purpose to have [the 
nameys] so curiously concealed, as our cousen ^ [Gilbert 


said to represent one of the conspirators who had been executed. But 
in this correspondence he seems to be Barnes's fictitious brother. In this 
letter the brother is supposed to be at Burton or Lichfield, but the 
mystification is not kept up consistently. 

The object of the mystification is clearly to create trust in the Scottish 
Queen. If she had known what an insignificant fellow Barnes was, 
she would probably not have used him. But she was inclined to confide 
in the alleged pair of catholic brothers, so intimately united together, 
and ' cousins ' both of the Giffords, the Throckmortons, and Foljambes, 
knightly families, whose names are casually mentioned later, and who had 
really suffered in her cause. ' Honest brethren,' she calls them, ' kinsmen 
of [Gilbert] to serve [his] turn in his absence ' (Labanoff, vi. 355). 

When dealing with the protestant brewer, Barnes boasted in the same 
way, only now his relatives are noted puritans, Sir Walter Aston and Mr. 
Richard Bagot. Poulet's curt but pungent, comment is, ' untruly, I 
doubt not ' (Morris, pp. 213, 214). It may also be remarked that Gilbert 
when writing to Phelippes about Barnes, never calls him ' cousin.' 

1 To keep Mary's correspondence confined to the one channel, which the 
government was carefully watching, is the object of these two paragraphs : 
and we must needs regard this as another indication of the cloven hoof. 
We find Poulet also constantly anxious for the same thing. We cannot 
doubt which side inspired these lines. Another indication of the same 
thing may be said of the use of the words ' honest man,' etc. 


Gifford] assure th us, from her maiestie her self, If the 
instrument is a worke to be made common to any other. 

If besydes the danger we have sene others fall into before 
us, namely o r cousen fr: T. and God: fol: [i.e. Francis 
Throckmorton and Godfrey Foljambe], If yow knew what 
hazard for myne owne parte I have sene her maiesties 
secret instrumentes do live in, by reason of the division 
of her servantes on the other syde the sea, yow wold not 
marvell that other men be fearefull, and wee warye, how 
they deale in that w ch cummeth from them. For, in 
trewthe, as they be devyded in affection one from another, 
so are they in opinion of her maiesties servantes. And if 
any one of us w ch be knowen to be her maiesties, seme to 
depend or honor them of the one syde, he must looke for 
all persecution from the other. And any man of qualitie 
to live in amitie w th both is unpossible. 

We are therefor resolved to manage this intelligence as 
is agreed, not doubting but, if yow be warye enough of the 
watchefull knight Paulet w th in doores, all shall go currant 
w%out rubb abrode. And, rather then fayle, If her 
maiestie have not othervise meane, I will not stick to mak 
a way of intelligence for Scotland, 1 being advertised of 
some course from TT [? Morgan], w ch ^ [Gilbert Gifford] 
attendeth by his promes. 

Thus, attending her maiesties commandementes and 
directions, I tak my leve for this tyme. London [2'8 April]. 

Endorsed, probably by Curll. ff [cipher mark for Barnes] 
in May 1586. 

At end, in more faded ink. From Barnaby disciphered 
by me Gilbert Curll. v th October 1586. 

Still later hand by a librarian. A letter decypherd by 
Gilbert Curie. The Name Gilbert Curie seems to be in y e 
same Hand as transcribed the Letters from Morgan, 
Charles Paget, etc. 

1 In March (Morris, p. 156) Phelippes had wanted to palm off one of 
his creatures on the French ambassador, as messenger to Scotland. Here 
he is trying again. 


No. 2 

[Chartky, ' 20 May ' 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xvii. n. 73 ; Boyd, n. 413. Curll's original cipher, to 
which Phelippes has appended his decipher, and then begun his draft answer, 
but he comes to the end of his line after writing the first eleven words of what 
is now No. 4. The rest is torn off. 

The cipher is written lengthwise on a quarter of a folio sheet ; but the fly- 
sheet, which presumably bore the address ff, has been torn off, so that the page 
now measures 8x 3| inches only. 

What follows is Curll's cipher redeciphered. Phelippes's decipher is quite 
accurate, but he substitutes his own English spelling for Curll's Scotch spelling. 

SIR, H r M. lykeeth very well of the ordor of this con- 
uoy, & acordinn to your desyre, will haue your securitie 
regarded carefully. Let me know if I shall send an alpha- 
bet to your brother in caise this be not commoun betwen 

The packet here inclosed x is for the French Ambassador. 

Excuse, I pray you, for this tyme my breuity, preced- 
ing only of the bearer's soonear departure then he was 
appointed. God preserve you. Of may this tvventeth. 
Curll at Chartley. 

No. 3 

[s.l. ' 10 ' June, ? N.S., 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 6 ; Boyd, n. 466 ; Morris, p. 375. Decipher by 
Curll on a half -sheet of paper, with later attestations by different hands. It 
is answered in No. 5, whence we learn that it was not signed. Gilbert Gifford 
went abroad again after 7 June. Barnes, therefore, now reappears as a 

[Headed by a sign, probably^, roughly written.] 

MADAME, the dewtifull good mynd I have alvise in- 
wardly to your Heignes borne, hath bene such as I haue 
not only quyetly lamented yo r vndeserved estate, but have 

1 There were originally nine enclosures in this packet to Morgan (see 
Labanoff, vi. 329), to Engleneld, Paget, Bishop Leslie, Dr. Allen, Mendoza, 
Liggons, Archbishop Beaton, Foljambe, Du Ruisseau. All are preserved 
except the two last. This was Mary's Post i. 


lykevise sought by all meanes to me possible, w ch asmuch 
as in me lay, I might any way yeald yow confort in this 
your distressed caise, or imploy my self, and that litle I 
had, to do you service. All w ch intentions of myne, 
partly throwghe my long imprisonment, and partly for 
dyvers other causes as [? also] hitherto could take no 
effect ; vntill of late having conferred w th a certaine kins- 
man of myne about such affayres, he imparted to me this 
kynd of service, w ch he could not so ernestly recommend to 
me, as I did willingly and affectuously accept of the same. 
And surely in this he hath satisfyed me this far that I 
think not my self so much bound unto him in respect of o r 
consanguinitie as I do acknowledge my self redevable * 
and beholden to him for this his trust and courtoisy. And 
therfor not only this way but howsoever it shall please yo r 
H[ighness] to imploy me, yow shall fynd me redy, accord- 
ing to my habilite to performe as yow shall vpon occasiones 
think convenient to command. 

I have here sent yow a packet from f ranee, 2 w ch yow had 
receaved ere this, if I had not in this strange cuntrey lighted 
in the handes of theaffes, who having spoyled me of my 
horse & money, have enforced me to go on foot the best 
part of my way. 3 

I expect yo r answer for the recept assoone as may be, 
for that I wold presently repayre agayne to London to 
furnish my self of necessaryes. I pray yow send me a 

1 Redevable indebted. See Murray's English Dictionary, which notes 
that the word is obsolete. 

2 This packet, says Barnes (Confession, 2), was from Morgan, and the 
decipher of his letter of ' 24 April ' is preserved at Hatfield (Calendar, iii. 
139, printed in full, Murdin, pp. 510-512). Mary gives a full account of 
its reception in her letter to Morgan, 22 June-' 2 July ' (Labanoff, vi. 354), 
together with the present note. 

3 The real object of this paragraph is, no doubt, to solicit a gratuity, 
and hence the moving terms his ' long imprisonment/ and the story of his 
being robbed by highwaymen, about which there is not a word in his 
Confession. It is probably a mere pretence. Still Barnes did go down 
to Burton, though he could not get an answer, in spite of many petitions 
to the brewer ; perhaps because he forgot to sign his letter. The answer, 
probably with a donation, came by Gilbert 11/21 July (Morris, 220), and 
also a cipher alphabet. 


new Alphabet, for that w ch I wryte by was worne owt 
because I had it of my cousen. Thus, my humble dewtie 
to yo r Heighnes not forgotten, I commit yow to God, 
whom I beseche long to preserve yo r maiestie in lyffe, and 
shortly to delyver yow out of the handes of yo r ennemyes. 
Dated this x th of June. 1 [No Signature.] 

Written later. Deciphered by me, Gilbert Curll v th 
October 1586. 

Written still later. This is the copie of the true & onlie 
letter I sent to the Queene of Scottes. 


Endorsed in Phelippes's hand, ff, [Barnes] xvj th and x th 
of June 1586. 

In a modern pencil. See the answer to this letter by 
the Scottish Queen, posted 19 June. 

Signed, P. F. T[YTLER]. 

No. 4 


4 Lichfield ' [really London] 6/16 June 1586. 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 6 ; Boyd, n. 473. The beginning of the draft, 
in Phelippes's hand, has been described under No. 2. This is written on the 
recto side of the last, on a half-sheet of pot-paper. It is Curll's decipher in 
his autograph, followed by his attestation in October. 

As I'helippes was in London, we see that the place-name of Lichfield is 
fictitious ; and so, perhaps, are most of the details. They are all clearly 
intended to play upon Mary's generosity. The idea of the foot-boy running 
the 150 miles to London proved a good bait. He is alluded to, we shall see, in 
almost all the future letters from Chartley ; and Mary ' gave credit ' to the idea 
of his being rewarded by the French ambassador in hers of the 13th of 

1 As this letter is not signed ; as it also begins without any reference 
to his previous letter of 28 April, or to its answer, which he ought also by 
this to have acknowledged ; as it also contains no reference to his alleged 
brother at Lichfield (to whom, one would think, he would have gone, 
instead of returning at once to London) for these, or similar reasons, we 
shall henceforward find Mary and Curll treating this ' messenger ' as a 
new person. So that Barnes is now triplicated into himself, his brother 
Emilio, and his messenger ; and the messenger is answered in No. 5A. 


July : ' Continuez, je vous prie, toujours a gratifier ce laquay de ce que trouvez 
bon, toutes et quantes f oys qu'il portera aulcunes lettres de ma part, et 1'employez 
sur mes parties.' -Labaiioff, vi. 374. 

From Barnaby vnto me. 

S R , In the way from London I mett yours of the 1 xx th 
May, according to the reformed Calendar, (w ch I will here- 
after follow), w ch the bearar therof delyvered, and is re- 
turned w th this only Ire. I was bold to pray the Ambas- 
sador to bestowe an Angel vpon him, w ch wold be a gret 
encouragement to him, being a foot boy to run it, being 
also of the maner of o r nation, and a trifle in the wholl yere 
to her Maiestie. Whrefor it may please yow to geve 
credit to this motion, by your next to the sayd Ambassador, 
w ch was done in treuth for her Maiesties better service. 
My brother desyreth to be troubled as litle as he may w th 
wrytinge, 2 but is content to beare any charges, as I am 
any paynes, for her Maiesties good : howbeit the Alpha- 
bet, in respect of any occasion that may happen in my 
absence, is common betwen us, yet I shall not be long at 
any tyme so far of but your directions may be sent to my 
self, the xxiij th of this present I will repayre for answer. 
God have you in his kepeing. 

Lechfeld, xvj th of June 1586. 

Decyphered by me, Gilbert Curll, v th October 1586. 

No. 5 

[Chartley, 19/29 June 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 10. Curll's draft, much corrected, with later 
attestation. An answer to Nos. 1, 4. 

S R , At a seuennight before my former, 3 yo rs dated the 
xxviij th of Aprile \v th your Couseiis 4 and the wholl men- 

1 Phelippes's draft, commenced on letter 2, had stopped with this word. 

2 This is in answer to Curll's question in No. 2, whether he shall send 
' the brother ' an alphabet. 

3 ' My former ' was No. 2 above, of 10/20 May. 

4 ' Cousin ' Gilbert's letter was 24 April (Boyd, n. 359), below, p. 99. 


tioned therin came sauf to her maiesties handes : So did 
on the xx th of this instant your other dated the xvj th of 
the same, conforme to the reformed calender : wherof 
before now I could not advertise yow. 

Her maiestie thinketh her self not a litle beholden to yo r 
sayd Cousen for the fynding owt of yow & your brother 
to pleasure her maiestie in this intercourse ; nor lesse 
obliged unto your selfes for your so willing acceptance of 
the payne & travell, that therby yow shall have ; w ch 
her maiestie hath commanded me to signify unto yow 
in hir name, and with all to assure yow of her goodwill 
& thankfull mynd, to recognosce the same in effect 
towardes yow & all your s , whensoever occasion & meanes 
may offer therunto. 

By any erro r or wante of circumspection, either in her 
maiesties self or any here about her persone, yow may 
be assured, ther hath no inconvenient hapned unto any 
man whom her maiestie hath had intelligence w th all, or 
imployed as yow are, having alvise kept that order and 
rewle on her syde for the surest, that never one almost 
shold know of an other dealing for her maiestie. But 
that w ch hath overthrowen many (to her maiestie' s extreme 
gret greffe) hath bene ther owen too gret curiositie to know 
more then was requisit for ther securitie, and jalousye one 
of an other after ther too liberall revealing amongst them 
selves of ther goodwills in the cause. Towardes whom 
and ther posteritie her maiestie notwithstanding estemeth 
her and hers bond to acknowledge her obligation therin 
effectually, and wilbe no lesse carefull, in the meane tyme, 
of your preservations every way then of her owne ; w ch 
her maiestie maketh not so much accompt of for any 
particular contentment she wisheth to her self, as she doeth 
for the mayntenance of Codes cause & the commen good 
of this ysle : to w ch end her maiestie hath dedicated both 
her lyffe and labors. 

On Monday last 1 this bearer browght hither a lettre 
written to her maiestie in ^ [Gilbert Gifford] his Alphabet, 

1 ' Monday last ' was 13/23 June. The letter was No. 3 above. 


w th owt any name or signe who he may be that wrote it, 
except only that ' a certaine kinsman of his imparted this 
way to him.' The inclosed is for him, desyring to know 
his name, w th owt the w ch her maiestie can ground no sure 
intelligence w th him. 

For this day fourtnight, w ch wilbe the xiij th of July, her 
maiestie will have a packet finished, to be sent unto the 
french Ambassador : wherfor desyreth yow for that tyme 
to hold your boy in reddynes ; and towching his encourage- 
ment her maiestie shall lett the Ambassador know her 
intention, to your contentment. What correspondence 
I may give yow, for my owne part, in this trade, yow shalbe 
sure to have, as also the pleasure and service my poware can 
othervise do yow, whom I pray God to preserve. Chartley 
this xxix th of June. 

I have thowght good to change the chifred wordes added 
to this Alphabet in other simple Caracters, as are herein 
noted ; w cl1 I pray yow vse in tyme cumming, as I will, 
to thend o r ordinary wryting in caise of interception or 
losse of our lettres be not discovered (as might by the 
other) & so by consequence o r selfes. 

Later attestation, From me to Barnabie, at the Queenes 
Maiestie my mistress' commandment. 

GILBERT CURLL, v th October 1586. 

No. 5A 

[Chartley, 19/29 June 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 10 ; Curll's draft, on the verso side of No. 5. It 
answers No. 3, which is not signed, but dated 10 June. 

Whosoever yow be, that hath written a lettre unto me 
in the Alphabet hereof dated the x th of this instant, (wher- 
unto before now I could not answer), I must thank yow 
right hartely for the affection declared therin, w ch yow 
beare unto me, and the offer yow make to lett me effectu- 
ally know the same. But I wold more boldly accept 


therof and imploy yow, if I did know your particular 
intention : wherin and by what way yow wold pleasure 
me, and what is yo r name, omitted in yo r sayd lettre, w ch 
by yo r next I pray yow to vtter. In the meane while I do 
herewith send yow a new Alphabet, conforme to your 
desire, & pray God to preserve yow. This xix th of June 
according to the new computation. 1 

Endorsed (1) To ff the xix th of June 1586. 

(2) Mr. Lemon's note, A mistake ; June 19 stylo veteri. 

No. 6 

[Chartley, 25 June/5 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 16A redeciphered ; printed in Morris, p. 378. 
In this interesting dispatch we have the little quarter sheet in Curll's beauti- 
fully regular hand. Phelippes's decipher, very hard to read, is written below 
the ten lines of cipher. Phelippes has also turned the note, and copied on 
the back the cipher-letter to Babington, the original of which he was to seal 
up again and forward. The deciphering may have been done later, and in 
any case the ciphers would be needed for reference or as evidence. 

On Sonday last I wrote vnto yow by this bearer, having 
had nothing from yow since your letter dated the sixtenth 
of this instant. I hope to have hir M. embassador dis- 
patche, mentioned in my foresayd, redy for to-morrow 
seuennight conforme to the appointment. 2 

In the meane season her Maiestie prayeth yow to send 
your footboy, so closely as yow can, with these two litle bils 
inclosed : the one, so ) marked to Master Anthony 
Babington, dwelling most in Derbyshyre at a house of his 

1 See Mr. Lemon's endorsement. 

2 Sunday before ' Saturday/ 25 June/5 July, was 19/29 June. The 
bearer of the letter of that date to Barnaby was ' the honest man.' ' This 
instant ' is a slip, for the date of this letter is given in New Style, according 
to which the month was July, not June, while the letter to Babington was 
Old Style. Hence we see again that Curll, as we might say, thought in 
Old Style, not in the New. The ' appointment ' for Mary's ' embassador 
dispatche ' was in the last letter Sunday, 3/13 July, and this he calls ' to- 
morrow sevennight/ so that Curll has in mind that the day he was writing 
on was Saturday 25 June/5 July ; not 4 July, as he writes by slip at 
the end. 


own, 1 within two myles of Winkfeild, as I doubt not but 
yow know, for y* in this shyre he hath both frends and 
kinsmen. And the other bill without any mark or super- 
scription to one Richard Hourt, 2 mercer, dwelling most in 
Nuttingame. Unto nether of the two foresaid person- 
ages your said Boy nedeth not to declare whose he is : 
vnless he be alredy knowen by them with whom he shall 
haue to doo, but only aske ansuer, and what is giuen him, 
to bring it to your handes, which her M. assureth herself, 
you will with conuenient diligence mak come vnto her. 
As Her M. desyreth y* you wold on euery occasyon you 
haue to write, participate vnto her such occurrentes as 
come unto your knowledge either foreyn, or within the 
realme, and in particular what you vnderstand of the 
Erie of Shrewsbury his going to court. 3 God preserue you. 

At Chartley , of July the fourth on Setterday. CURLL. 

Addressed, ff. Calendared s note in pencil, The day of 
the month is the 5 th and according to the New Style. 

No. 7 

[Chartley, 25 June/5 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 16x verso : described in the preceding letter. It 
is here redeciphered and is equivalently a new text, which, however, offers no 
variants from those hitherto published, except that Curll's Scotticisms take 
the place of Phelippes's Englishisms. For the MS. copies and the editions, see 
under No. 15. 

MY VERY GOOD FREND, Albeit it be long since you hard 
from me, no more then I haue done from you, aganst my 

1 Babington's house was Dethwick, two miles S.E. of Matlock. Mary, 
it will be noted, believes that her humble correspondent really belongs to 
the county families, and knows every one. This was because Gilbert had 
told her (24 April) that ' my kinsman has good friends in the courte,' and 
' will be able to inform you of the state of this council, as you shall direct 
him.' Hence also the inquiry about Lord Shrewsbury, answered in No. 9. 

2 This Richard Hourt, or Hert, was a creditor from whom Mary had 
borrowed money. See Mary to Morgan, ' 2 July ' ; Labanoff, viii. 354 ; 
Boyd, n. 497. But Labanoff reads ' Charles Paget ' in place of Hert, I 
suppose by an erroneous identification. 

3 See also Babington's Examination, below, p. 89. 


will, yit vvodd I not you shold think, I haue in the meane- 
whyle, nor will euer be vnmyndful of the effectuall affection 
yow haue shewen heretofore towards all y* concerneth me. 
I haue vnderst[ood] y* vppon the ceassing of ovvre intelli- 
gence there were addressed vnto you both from France 
and Scotland some packets for me. I pray you, if any 
haue come to your handes, and be yet in place, to delyuer 
them vnto the bearer hereof, who will mak them to be 
sauf conuoyed to me, and I will pray God [for your] 

Of June the twenty fyfth, at Chartley. 

Your assured good frend, MARIE R. 

Address in the left corner, Babington. 

No. 8 

[Chartley, 2/12 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 30 redeciphered. A slip of paper containing 
four lines of cipher characters by Curll, and also the decipher by Phelippes 
(printed in Morris, p. 378). 

The last of yours w ch came to my hands was dated the 
sixtenth of lune. Since the which I have writn to 
you twyse, the one on Sonday was a seuennight, & the 
other the fourth of this instant, but haue had no word 
from yow of the recept of ether of the two. 1 

Herewith is the packet mentioned in both, which her 
Mai. prayeth yow to send by your boy, or otherwise surely, 
to the Fr. Amb. 2 

So expecting yow will by the next commoditie com- 
municate to her M. such newes as yow heare, I pray God 
to preserue yow. 

This Setterday at Chartley twelfth of luly. CURLL. 

Addressed, ff. 3 

1 These two letters are numbers 5, 6, above. 

2 This was Mary's Second Post out. 

8 This sign means Barnes, but he probably never received the letter. 
Gilbert Gifford, whom Sir Amias expected on the 29th of June (Morris, 


No. 9 

[IChartley, 10/20 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n 63 ; Boyd, n. 606 ; Morris, p. 379. Phelippes's 
draft, much corrected, and occasionally wanting in connecting words, which 
deficiencies are here shown by dashes. The letter must have been written by 
Phelippes on his arrival at Chartley, and it covered Babington's first letter to 

SIR, I have received your last of the 12th of July 
[No. 8] by my cousin Gilbert, as also your other two 
therein mentioned which in my absence came to my 
brother's hands, who took order for the satisfaction of her 
Majestic touching the contents, but forbears to write, as a 
thing which he always desired he might not be charged 

The present packet [i.e. Post ii.] committed to my cousin 
Gilbert, to be by himself delivered ; who hath likewise 
signified (as he tells me) [? so much that may content 
the ?] second messenger, as I hold it nedeless to trouble 
you with anything myself touching that point. 

Ye delivery of the letters in cipher [to Babington, No. 7] 
enclosed in yours of the 4th [No. 6], my brother at 
London despatched it accordingly thither. In turne he 
received the packet sent herewith, which, Babington said, 
required great haste ; and therefore the boy returned 
without staying for any despatch from the French Am- 
bassador, who attendeth letters, he saith, daily out of 
France. I will take order for the delivery of Hurt's letter 

p. 212), arrived in time to receive this letter, as well as Mary's letter to 
Barnes (No. 5 A above), and probably also Barnes's reward (Morris, pp. 217, 
220). Sir Amias wanted Barnes discharged (Morris, p. 212), and Gilbert 
promised ' to cut him clear off from this course ' (Morris, p. 217). 

Gilbert also took the ' Second Post,' and it was sent up to London by 
Sir Amias's courier. 

Mary refers to Gilbert's letter to her in her letter to Morgan, 17/27 July, 
(Labanoff, p. 421 ; Boyd, n. 624), and in writing to Chateauneuf (ibid., 
Labanoff, p. 428) she says he had promised to be back before the end of 
the month. 


I find the Earl of Shrewsbury 1 he was greatly grieved 
with a stay that the Quene of England made of a book, 
printed by him about one Babsthorpe, a gentleman, upon 
the statute of scandalum magnatum, for lewd speeches 
uttered by the said Babsthorpe against the Earl. How- 
beit the Earl, since his going up hath prevailed so far with 
his reasons of discontentment that the Q. of England is 
content the Law shall have course. 

For other matters I refer to the next : this both sudden 
and speedy because of Mr. Babington's request. I received 
your alteration of the alphabet & concurred in the reason. 
I wish, for greate expedition also in writing, that you would 
assign special characters for a number of the most common 
words. So God preserve you. 

The 20th of July. 

Endorsed, Emilio, cifer 1. Numbered, 52 [? 32]. 

No. 10 

[n.d. ? London, ?6/16 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xix. n. 12, official copy. This letter is always found in 
conjunction with Queen Mary's answer, and its authenticity must depend upon 
that. This question will be discussed fully below ; the MS. and printed copies 
with which the collations are made are also explained below. 

i. Moft mightie, moft excellent, my dread a foveraigne 
Ladie and Queen, 2 vnto whome only I owe all fidelitie and 
obedience. It maie pleafe yo r gratious Ma tie to admitt 
thexcufe of my long filence and difcontenewance from the 
dutifull offices incepted. Vpon the remove of yo r royall 
pfon from the auntient place of yo r aboade to the cuftodie 
of a wicked puritan and meer Leiceftrian, b a mortall enemie 

a. dread, Bresslau, dear. 

b. mere Leicestrian, K. omits. 

1 This answers the question put in No. 6. 

2 For the exaggerated tone throughout, see Babington's Confessions, viii. 
p. 91. 


both by faith and faction to yo r Ma tie and the State 
Catholick : I heald the houpe of o r Contries weale depend- 
ing next vnder god vpon the lief and health of yo r Ma tie to 
bee defperate, and therevpon refolved to depart the land, 
determining to fpend the remainder of my lief in fuch 
folitarie fort as the wretched and miferable ftate of my 
Contrie did require : daily expecting according to the 
iuft iudgement of god the deferved confufion thereof, 
which our Lord for his mercies fake prevent. 

ii. The w ch my purpofe being in execution, and ftanding 
vppon my departure, there was addreffed to mee from the 
partes beyond the feas 1 one Ballard a man of vertue and 
learning, and of finguler zeale to the Catholick caufe, and 
yo r Ma ts fervice. This man enformed mee of great pre- 
paration by the Chriftian princes (yo r Ma ts allies) for the 
deliverance of o r Contrie from thextreame and miferable 
ftate wherein it hath to long remained : 

iii. w ch when I vnderftood my fpetiall defire was to 
advife, by what meanes with the hazard of my lief and 
frendes in generall I might doe your facred Ma tle one good 
daies fervice. Wherevppon moft deare a foueraigne accord- 
ing to y e great care w ch thofe princes haue of the prefer- 
vation and fafe deliverie of yo r Ma ts facred pfon, I advifed 
of meanes and confidered of y e circumftances according 
to the weight of the affaire : and after long consideration 
and conference had with fo manie the wifeft and moft 
truftie, as w th fafetie I might commend the secrecy b 
thereof vnto, 2 I do c find (by the afliftance of o r Lord 

a. dear, K. dread. 

b. secrecy, so B. R.O. reads safety a duplication from the previous 

c. do, so Cal. and K. 

1 We may fairly assume that Morgan directed Ballard to Babington; 
but we should remember that Gilbert Gifford was also capable of having 
done this. For this mission, and for the bogus league of princes, etc., see 
Introduction. Babington evidently believed in the league. Mary, to judge 
by her answer, and much more by her letters to Mendoza, and the rest, 
did not, though she did not contradict Babington. 

2 These words are explained in Babington's Confessions, viii. i. 


Jems) afTurance of good effect and defired fruict of o r 

iv. Thefe thinges are firft to bee advifed * in this great 
and honorable action vpon the iflue of w ch depend not only 
the lief of yo r moft excellent Ma tie (w ch god long preferve 
to our ineftimable comfort and to the falvation of Englifh 
foules) and the lief of all vs actors herein, but alfo the 
hono r and weale a of o r Contrie, farr then our lives more 
deare vnto vs, and the last hoape ever to recover the faith 
of o r forefathers, and to redeem o r felves from the fervitude 
and bondage w ch hereiie hath impofed vpon vs with the 
lofTe of thoufands of foules : [a] ffirft afmring of invafion : 
[b] mfficient ftrength in the invado r : [c] Fortes to arrive 
at appointed, 1 * [d] with a ftrong partie at everie place 
to ioyne with them and warrant their landing, [e] The 
deliverance of yo r Ma tle . [/] The difpatch of the vfurping 
Competitor, ffor the effectuating of all w ch yt it maie 
pleafe yo r Ex tie to relie vpon my fervice. 

v. I vowe 2 and proteft before the face of almightie god 
(who miraculoufly hath long preferved your facred pfon 
no doubt to fome vniverfall good end) that what I haue 
faid fhalbee pformed, or all our lives. happely loft in thexecu- 
tion thereof : which vowe all the chiefe actors herein haue 
taken folemnly and are vppon arTurance by yo r Ma ts Ires 
vnto mee to receave the blefled facrament there vpon, 
either to prevaile in y e churches behalf and yo r Ma ts , or 
fortunately to die for that honorable caufe. 

vi. No we for as much as the delaie is extreame danger- 
ous : It maie pleafe yo r moft excellent Ma tie by yo r 
wifdome to direct vs 3 and by yo r princely authoritie to 

a. honour and weal, Cal. weal, K. wealth. 

b. invaders . . . to . . . appointed, K. reads invaders ports to arrive 
well appointed. French version has the same. 

1 Mary's answer to this is in her 3, 4. In effect she says, ' You 
must look to them and consult Mendoza.' 

2 On this ' vow ' and on ' sworn servant ' at the end, see Confessions, 
viii. 6, 9. 

3 This is answered in Mary's 12. 


enable a fuch as male advaunce the affaire x : forefeing 
that where is not anie of the nobilitie at libertie allured 
to yo r Ma tle in this defperate fervice (except vnknowen to 
vs) and feing it is verie necefTarie that some there bee to 
become heades to lead the multitude, ever difpofed by 
nature in this land to follow nobilitie confidering withall 
it doth not only make the comons and gentrie to followe 
without contradiction or contention (which is ever found 
in equalitie) but alfo doth add great corage to the leaders, 
ffor w ch neceflarie regard I [would] recommend 2 fome vnto 
yo r Ma tle as fitteft in my knowledge for to bee your Lieu- 
tenants in the Weft partes, in the north partes, Southwales, 
North Wales and the Counties of Lancafter Derbie and 
Stafford : all which Contries by parties alreadie made and 
fidelities taken in your Ma ts name I hould as moft aflured, 
and of moft vndoubted fidelitie. 

vii. My felf with tenne gentlemen and a hundred o r 
followers will vndertake the deliverie of your royall perfon 
from the handes of yo r enemies. 

viii. jffor the difpatch of the vfurper, from the obedience 
of whome wee are by thexcommunication of her made free, 3 

a. enhable, so Cal. State Trials, 1729, p. 142, reads enable us and. 
All MSS. omit ' us and' ; Cal. however has ( us/ but it has been cancelled. 

1 The weight of MS. authority (see the variant readings) is against the 
introduction by Babington of the request that Mary should ' enhable us/ 
i.e. that he should be appointed leader, tempting though it may be, to 
imagine that he would have made such a suggestion. 

2 Babington was re-examined on this passage, viii. 4. He then 
' denied that he did recommend any gentleman by name to the Scottish 
Quene, to be Lieutenant ; but the effect of his letter in that point was 
that he would afterwards recommend some unto her.' ' Would ' must 
therefore be supplied. 

3 Pius v. gave no warranty whatever for assassination; Introduction, 
p. xxi. (see Bullanum under date 25 February 1570 ; or Sander, De Schismate 
Anglicano, ed. D. Lewis, p. 301 ; or Venetian Calendar, 1570, p. 449; or 
Rome Calendar, p. 328 ; or Pollen, English Catholics in the Reign of Elizabeth, 
142-59). Babington, moreover, was uncertain whether the bull was 
still of force (Confessions, ii. 2). He was also speaking untruly when he 
stated that six gentlemen were ready ' to undertake the tragical execution.' 
He himself insisted on this later (Confessions, ii. 22, and iii. 7). Ballard 
declared that ' for all Babington's brag he could not see that he could 
assure himself of more than two ' (Boyd, p. 683). For the ft see p. 31. 


there bee fix noble gentlemen all my private f rends, 
who for the zeale they beare to the Catholick caufe 
and your Ma te fervice will vndertake that tragicall 
execution f. 

ix. It refteth that according to their infinite good 
defertes and yo r Ma te bountie their heroicall attempt maie 
bee honorably rewarded in them yf they efcape with lief, 
or in their pofteritie, and that fo much I maie bee able by 
your Ma te authoritie to afTure them. 

x. Nowe yt remaineth only that by yo r Ma ts wifdome it 
maie bee reduced into methode ; that yo r happie deliver- 
ance bee fir ft, for that therevpon dependeth our only good, 
and that all the other circumftances fo concurre a that the 
vntimely beginning b of one end doe not overthrowe the 
reft. All which your Ma ts wonderfull experience and 
wifedome will difpofe of in fo good maner, as I doubt not 
through gods good amftance all mail come to defired 
effect ; ffor the obteining of which everie one of vs mail 
thinck his lief moft happely fpent. 

xi. vpon the xij th of this moneth I wilbie at Lichfield x 
expecting yo r Ma ts anfweare and letters in readines to 
execute what by them fhalbee comaunded. 

Yo r Ma ts moft fathfull subiect & fworne fervant, 


To M r Nau, Secretarie to her Ma tie . 

M r Nau I would gladly vnderstand what opinion you 
hould of one Robert Pooley, whome I find to haue intelli- 
gence with her Ma tis occasions. 2 I am private with the 
man and by meane thereof knowe somewhat but suspect 
more. I praie you deliver yo r opinion of him. 

a. concur, B. occur. 

b. beginning, K. fall. 

1 The answer was delivered to him at London on the 29th of July. 

2 Occasions (see Oxford English Dictionary, meaning No. 7) = Neces- 
sary business, affairs. This example is earlier than any of those there 


Attestations in the same hand. (I) To the letter for Mary. 
This is the true copie of y e Ire w ch I wrott to y e Queene of 

(2) To the letter for Nau. This is the true copie of the 
letter w ch I wrote to Nau. 


No. 11 

[Chartley, 12/22 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 42, redeciphered ; Boyd, n. 585; Morris, 
p. 379. Six and a half lines of Curll's cipher, with Phelippes's decipher below. 
Curll is now triplicating Barnes ; viz. Barnaby in the address, 'your brother,' 
' and ' the second messenger. ' He believes them all to be distinct and different 
persons. This letter of acknowledgment covered the one from Nau, which 

SIR, Yisternight your letter, dated the tvventeth l 
of this instant with the inclosed, her M. received right 
thankfully of yow, with dilligence yow shew to pleasure 
her in all she desyreth. 

I trust yow have caused deliver her M.'s answer to the 
second messinger, although to say trevvly, her M. agreeth 
with cusin Gilbert his advice not much to imploy the man. 
Neither hath her M. ben willing at any time unnedefully 
to exerce this course for her part with any mo then your 
self, your brother and cusin Gilbert. 

If Master Babington come dovvne in the cuntrey for 
whom this x caracter shall servve in the tyme cuming, 
her M. prayeth yow to cause conuoy to him this inclosed : 
other vise to stay it untill yow hear from her M. agayne. 

With my next I shall doo my best to satisfy yow touche- 
ing the other caracters. God have you in protection. 

Of iuly the xxij. Curll, Chartley/ 

Addressed, ff= Barnaby. 
Numbered, 48. 

\ Phelippes in error wrote 12. 


No. 12 

[Chartley, ' 13 '/23 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 43. Copy by Phelippes ; Boyd, n. 586. 
Babington's covering letter to Nau appears to be lost, but Babington's recol- 
lections of it are given below, p. 90, where he also gives a remarkably 
accurate recollection of the letter which follows. This is Phelippes's decipher. 
The original was penned by Curll, as he afterwards confessed, because he 
was English secretary. 

S R , Yesternight her Ma 1 *' receaved your letters and 
therin closed, w ch before this bearer's 1 retorne cannot be 
decifred. He is within these two or three dayes to repayr 
hither agayne ; agaynst which tyme her majesty es answer 
shalbe in redynesse. 2 

In the meane while I wold not omitt to shew you, that 
there is great assurance given of Mr. Poley his faythful 
seruing of her majesty, and by his owne letters hath vowed 
and promised the same. As yet her majestyes experience 
of him is not so great as I dare embolden yow to trust him 
moch : he never hauing written to her Majesty but once, 
wherunto she hath not yett answered, 3 for not knowing 
of his abode, neyther assuredly to whose handes he first 
committed his sayd letters. Let me know playnly what 
you understand of him. And so I will pray God to pre- 
serve yow. This 13 of Julye. 4 At Chartley. NAU. 

Endorsed by Phelippes, 13 July 1586, Nau to Bab. 
Numbered, 53. 

1 ' This bearer,' i.e. the ' honest man.' 

2 In fact the answer took a fortnight to prepare. 

3 So Mary seems to have kept the letter, but it is now lost. 

4 Old Style, because addressed to an Englishman following that 


No. 13 

[Chartley, 17/' 27 ' July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 57 ; cipher redecipliered ; Boyd, 599 ; Morris, 
379. Curll'a writing (seven lines) followed by Phelippes's decipher. 

SIR, This afternoone hauing receaued your letter of the 
twenty fyue of this instant, 1 and letten her M. see the 
same wholly descyphered, which hath not a litle aug- 
mented the good opinion she had conceaued before of your 
affection towards God's cause and hers, she hath com- 
manded me hereby to give yow her right harty thankes 
herfore, & to pray yow in her name, untill farther occasion 
shall offer to imploy yow otherwise, that you vvil continew 
in occurrentes 2 as yow promes & now haue done. 

& to mak this inclosed 3 be surely [delivered in the 
hands of Anthony Babington, if he be come down [to] 
yow in the country. Otherwise, that it be kept still in 
yours or your brothers keeping, untill Babington his 
arrivall ; or for an tenn dayes, within which tyme her 
M. intendeth to haue a [packet] redy to be sent to the Fr. 
Am. by your boy, 4 who by the same meane may also carry 
the other to Babington at London, if he come not douune 

Giuen herewith is the addition to this alphabet, and so 
I pray God to preserue you. Of iuly the twenty-seuenth. 


Addressed, ff '; Numbered, 50. 

1 This letter seems to be lost. It was probably written to reassure. 

2 Mary's pleasure in hearing news is attested now in every letter since 
No. 6. Gilbert, in sending Barnes to her (letter of 24 April, below, p. 101), 
promised her that he had the news of the court ; and Phelippes, while 
weaving his fatal toils around her, is lulling her into a feeling of security 
by his stories. 

3 This was the fatal letter to Babington. 

4 The promised packet would contain her ' third post.' 


No. 14. 

[Chartley, 17/27 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 53. Judging by the cipher signs which remain 
in this transcript, one infers that this copy is an extremely early one. We 
cannot point to any copy as definitely earlier. 

Mary's letter to Babington, of 17 July 1586, is confessedly the 
chief document of this entire episode. Phelippes endorsed it at 
once with the gallows' mark. Babington knew it practically by 
heart. Mary entirely denied its blood-guiltiness, 1 1 am to be tried 
by my own words. By them you will not find me guilty.' 

Both sides therefore regard the letter as all-important ; and 
whatever our answer to Mary's challenge, there is no question 
that it demands a very careful study. Its difficulties are many, 
subtle, and long-standing. 'The English Councillors . . . say that 
this letter is the most artful and cleverly worded they have ever 
seen.' That was Mendoza's report, 8 November 1586 (Spanish 
Calendar, p. 645). 


There are two families of texts. The authentic text and the 
textus receptus, as we may call it. 

The authentic text was that of the letter which Mary sent off. 
Looking at the Introduction, p. cxlvi, we find its history, which may 
be reduced to the following chronological heads. Written between 
the 10th and 17th of July, it had at first been thought out by 
Mary herself, perhaps with a note or two in MS. Then it was 
written in French by Nau ; and finally translated into English by 
Curll, Mary having revised and approved the letter at each stage. 
Afterwards Curll put it into cipher and sent it off. 

This authentic text was, as we see, in English. Labanoff, who 
printed it in French, and the officials of the Record Office, who 
bound up their French copies before the English, were mistaken. 
Even if the existing French had been Nan's draft (which is in 
reality not preserved), it would not have been the authentic text. 
In point of fact the existing French versions are enemy trans- 
lations of the textus receptus, made either for the examination of 
Nau, or else after the trial for transmission to France. 


The authentic letter, after being posted by Curll on the 18th of 
July, was brought back by ' the honest man ' that same night, and 
given to Phelippes, who immediately deciphered it. This decipher 
is the original of the textus receptus. 

On the 19th the decipher was sent up to Walsingham ; Phelippes, 
bringing up the authentic letter, arrived in London on Friday the 
29th. And after dusk that same summer evening, the letter was 
handed on to Babington, but now furnished with a postscript, ask- 
ing the names of the 'six gentlemen.' 

Next day the letter was deciphered by Babington, aided by 
Tichborne. There is no trace of any copy having been made or 
kept ; and Babington (Confessions, ii. 22) denied having done so. 
Poley indeed commenced a copy ; but being detected by Babing- 
ton he tore up his copy before Babington's eyes (Boyd, p. 601). 
Mary had ordered the immediate destruction of the letter, and 
there is no question that Babington would have obeyed. His 
accounts of it in his confessions written by memory, are so accurate 
that we feel sure that he had deliberately committed the letter to 
memory ; and he would not have done that except in some neces- 
sity of making away with the paper itself. He knew that he was 
in danger; and he had plenty of time to destroy it. He cites the 
postscript, so does Dunne. The obvious conclusion is that Bab- 
ington made away with the cipher and the decipher as soon as he 
and a sufficient number of witnesses had seen it. This would 
have been about the 1st to the 4th of August. The only records 
now remaining of it as a text are the excellent recollections of 
Babington in his examinations below, with others in gradually 
diminishing value, from Ballard, from Dunne, from Tichborne, and 
also from Robert Poley, all of which are independent of each other. 

Of the many extant copies of Mary's letter any derived from 
the authentic text should give the postscript. But no known 
copy contains it. 


We know that there were several drafts for the authentic letter ; 
possibly, though not probably, one by Mary, one by Nau, and one 
by Curll. 

1. On the 3rd of September Nau acknowledged that Mary's 
minute had been seized with the other papers. ' It pleased her 
to deliver to me a minute of a letter written by her hand to be 
corrected and fairly written, as appears to your honours [i.e. to the 


Privy Council] to have been done, having both of them in your 
hands.' (Boyd, p. 665.) 

But Nau is not a good witness here. He was already confused, 
frightened, unable to defend himself. He had been made to believe 
that more papers were captured than was the case. It is clear 
from his words that he was relying here on this false information. 

Besides this, Nau is here going beyond his province. The keep- 
ing of Mary's papers was not his business, but that of Curll. 

In subsequent confessions, moreover, after the 3rd of Septem- 
ber, he gives a slightly different account, which seems to exclude 
a draft in Mary's hand. He says that he ' had taken down the 
points of the letter to Babington out of the Scottish Queens own 
mouth.' And again, ' These points were . . . first delivered by the 
same Queen unto this examinate by her own speech,' p. 145, below. 

Walsingham, on reading Nau's first confession, at once, 3 Sep- 
tember, wrote earnestly to Phelippes about it, ' I would to God 
these minutes were found !' (Morris, p. 284). Next day, 4 Sep- 
tember, he has been convinced that ' the minute of her hand is 
not extant' (Morris, p. 284; Boyd, n. 753). With these words 
the prosecution seems to give up all attempt to learn more about 
the draft by Mary. Nau's statement may have been an exaggera- 
tion due to over-wrought nerves, after he had been misled by Lord 
Burghley's calculated flourishes. 

2. Of Nau's own draft also nothing more was said. It certainly 
existed, and appears to have been preserved. But nothing more 
is heard of it now. 

3. Curll' s English draft, from which the authentic letter to Bab- 
ington was put into cipher. This draft had been preserved by 
Queen Mary. Curll, a much more staid witness than Nau, declared 
this quite plainly on the 21st of September. f That which was 
Englished by this examinate, this examinate did put into a trunke 
which was in the Scottish Queen's cabinet (i.e. her writing-room) 
under lock and key' (below, p. 147). We should mark this 
attentively, for some official abbreviator of the evidence has de- 
liberately falsified this record in a later paper, which purports to 
summarise this examination of 21st September. Compare Hard- 
wicke Papers, i. 249, 250, with p. 147, n. 

The conclusion seems to be that while there may have been 
notes by Mary which might be called a draft, and while there 
certainly were drafts both by Nau and by Curll, none of these were 
produced, though much desired. The draft by Curll was certainly 


kept, and therefore certainly seized, and an attempt was made to 
falsify the record of its preservation. How can this be explained ? 
I suggest that Phelippes, on seizing the papers, destroyed the 
drafts which would have betrayed his postscript. When Walsing- 
ham regretted their non-appearance, Phelippes told him the reason ; 
and he acquiesced, ' the minute of her answer is not extant.' In 
the same spirit, when a summary of the trial was prepared for some 
form of publication (ultimately in the Hardwicke Slate Papers), it 
was so doctored that the evidence of preservation should disappear 
without exciting comment ; the record was spurlos versenkt. 


The text in general circulation, which is also printed below, 
may be called the textus receptus. Copies are numerous, in manu- 
script, in print, and in translations. As generally happens with such 
oft-copied pieces, copyist errors are frequent, but in essentials the 
text is the same everywhere. 

Phelippes deciphered and copied the authentic letter that 
passed through his hands on the 19th of July ; and hereby ensued 
a new text. But what can be more clear than that Phelippes' s 
copy lacks all ' authenticity.' We know that he forged a postscript 
to the letter itself before he sent it on. How, with that in mind, 
can we trust his authority? Elizabeth's government was afraid to 
produce his story in court. Why ? Because they knew that the 
whole world would have cried out, and would have accounted him 
the worst criminal in the proceedings. If then Elizabeth's govern- 
ment feared to commit themselves publicly to Phelippes's authority, 
with how much better reason should not we abstain ? The text 
lacks all external authenticity : and if we eventually see our way 
to trust it, this can only be for reasons extrinsic to Phelippes's 
reliability. In any case, however, as it was everywhere received, 
we may very well call it the textus receptus. 

At first while the conspirators were being examined, we hear but 
little of Mary's letter. Babington, however, confessed at once 
(? 18 August) all that he could remember about the letter and the 
postscript. On the 20th of August (Confessions, iv.) he was shown 
further clauses copied often literally from Phelippes's copy, and he 
was fraudulently told that they had been confessed by the other 
conspirators. These points (which did not comprise the postscript) 
Babington at once confessed, and re-wrote them in improved order 
and the commissioners countersign his welcome concession. 


Next he is asked to attest Phelippes's copy entire, and he does 
so. Nau, seeing this, follows suit. Finally Curll does the same. 
Thus was the textus receptus at last established (pp. 79, 139). 

Babington had been carried away by his desire to oblige the 
government, and he had apparently not noticed the absence of the 
postscript, which he had rightly mentioned in his first confession. 
By this careless weakness, he had done Mary's cause a great, if un- 
intentional, injury. For if he had insisted on the introduction of 
the postscript, Curll or Nau would have detected the fraud when 
they were asked to sign a day or two later. This gullibility is 
characteristic of Babington. 

The attestations of Nau and Curll (below, pp. 142-147) are 
expressed so very guardedly, as almost to suggest the presence of 
errors. To prevent any doubt settling upon the parts which the 
government considered vital to their case, they extracted Certain 
Principall Points, six in number : Curll and Nau had to subscribe 
these on the 23rd of September. The parts quoted are marked 
in the notes to the text below. 

The letter was read to Mary at the trial (15 October). She 
asked for a copy : denied that she had written any such letter, 
and again protested in general ' that she was not to be charged, 
but by her word or by her writing, and she was sure they had 
neither the one nor the other to lay against her.' In Mary's own 
mind that meant, no doubt, I am not to be tried by Babington's 
letter, but by my own, taken strictly by itself alone. By that alone 
I cannot be proved guilty. But nobody saw her point, and the 
court would only have jeered if they had seen it. In the ' Associa- 
tion ' they had sworn to murder her, if it were but proved that 
such a one as Babington had conspired in her favour. 

After the trial a French version of the letters was sent to France, 
carried by Sir Edward Wotton, whose instructions are dated 
29 September. It was hoped that the xiii. against trusting the 
French King, might cause Henri in. to refrain from interfer- 
ing on behalf of Mary his sister-in-law. It is probable that 
these letters had been translated previously, in order to lay 
before Nau : and there was another translation later, of which 

After Mary's execution the letters were printed in English, in 
an anonymous book, A defence of the honourable sentence and execu- 
tion of the Queen of Scots, printed by John Windet, and conjecturally 
ascribed to Maurice Kyffin. This tract is extremely rare. It has 


some peculiar omissions, evidently those of the court censor, as 
will be seen below. These peculiarities are not found in subse- 
quent editions, those, for instance, in the State Trials, of which the 
first edition was before 1729- The inference therefore is, that for 
them recourse was had to manuscript sources, which are, of course, 
abundant. There was, however, a French translation of this tract 
in 1588, which follows the peculiarities of the English edition, 
though, as we have seen, the letters had in fact been translated 
into French officially and fully at an earlier date. 

4. SUSPICIONS OF THE Textus Receptus. 

Camden tells us that Phelippes added to the text the postscript, 
si non et quaedam alia, ' if not some other things also.' Partly from 
this, partly from other reasons, some critics favourable to Mary, 
as Labanoff and Lingard, have pointed out that if a few clauses 
in Mary's letter, and they the most liable to hostile attack, are 
omitted (they are marked below by daggers), the whole letter 
reads more naturally, and corresponds better with the circum- 
stances of the case. They point, for instance, to ix., where 
Elizabeth is represented as consigning Mary to a life-long dungeon, 
and they contrast this with vii., where it is arranged that the 
assassination must be the first step of all. Here, say they, are 
two conflicting ideas. If, however, the passage in vii. is omitted 
as having been inserted or altered by Phelippes, the sense of the 
whole is improved. With a change or two like this, Mary's letter 
is disconnected from Babington's plot, and refers only to escape 
and final deliverance with foreign aid. This conclusion is strength- 
ened by further excisions in Babington's letter. It is pointed out 
that Morgan had previously cautioned Ballard and Gilbert Gifford 
against telling Mary of the plot. After that, say they, we may be 
sure that Babington would not have written to her about it ; and 
so the assassination passages in Babington ( viii.) are similarly con- 
fined with daggers. When this is done, both letters may be read 
together, and still nothing will transpire about' the murder-plot. 

As to the above arguments, we must say, in the first place, that 
they proceed on an altogether wrong principle. The true canon 
for a case like this is the following, Lectio difficilior, ergo veri- 
similior. But without enlarging on this abstract principle, we 
should say that the aforesaid inference might have seemed to us 
plausible in earlier times, when documents regarding this case 
were extremely rare. But now that we have so many independent 


witnesses., they are quite inadequate for the occasion. Some 
of the inferences are directly invalidated by further research ; 
e.g. the letter from Morgan against communicating with Mary did 
not reach Ballard till the 21st of July, whereas Babington's letter 
was written on the 6th of July. 

The striking catena of witnesses to Mary's authentic letter, 
Babington, Ballard, Dunne, Tichborne, Poley, is passed unnoticed. 
But they all understood her to have actually approved of the plot, 
to say nothing of Nau and Curll, though their evidence is certainly 
very strong and was held at the time as decisive. When Dr. 
Lingard wrote his extremely clever note S., he had no chance of 
weighing any part of that catena ; he had not studied the collec- 
tions of the British Museum or the Record Office, and relied 
upon the extracts given in Tytler and supplied to him by friends; 
he only speaks conjecturally. 


Though this text comes to us through a forger, and is for that 
reason to be received with the greatest suspicion, yet that is not 
the same thing as saying that it can never be admitted. If suffi- 
cient and independent evidence for it can be obtained, it must 
certainly be accepted. It appears to me that our evidence is 
sufficient. We have seen a catena of witnesses for the textus 
authenticus which is strong and ample Babington, Ballard, 
Dunne, Tichborne, and Poley. They are independent, they 
speak to all the important passages ; and as to these, they are 
at one. Nau and Curll concur. At the time their evidence 
was the chief authority, and it must still be considered most im- 
portant. This purely extrinsic evidence seems to me abundant. 
I accept the textus receptus throughout, apart from errors of tran- 
scription. I believe that the postscript was the only forgery 
which Phelippes was allowed. 

Moreover, it seems to me that the letter agrees in a marked 
way with Queen Mary's defence. It is incredible that Walsing- 
ham and Phelippes should have forged or manipulated a letter so 
that it would suit the plea which Mary was going to put forward in 
her defence ; and far more incredible still, if the text was really 
influenced by manipulation, that Mary should have known, before 
seeing the document objected to her, that her peculiar line of 
defence would be applicable to it. 

Mary's well-known protest was that she was not to be tried except 


by her own words,, and that in her own words,, there would be no 
consent or incitement to assassination. With these letters before 
us, her meaning becomes much more pertinent than at first 
appears. When she said she was only to be tried by her own 
words, she meant that she was not to be tried by Babington's 
letter. The blanks in her letter were not to be filled up by state- 
ments of his, and his intentions must not be read into her mind. 
And, in fact, we find that if she is tried by her own letter alone, 
even in the received text, she must be pronounced free of having 
encouraged assassination. Her defence will stand. 


Mary's letter from first to last is one of praise and agreement. 
Nevertheless, if we look to the points for which Babington 
explicitly solicited her consent and approval, we find that these 
are refused. This was not a side issue. Babington declared (and 
Ballard was of exactly the same mind) that the Queen's consent 
was an absolute necessity ; and he therefore asks for consent in 
a clear and tangible form. 

1. He begged her first 'to reward the six gentlemen who 
undertake the tragical execution ' ( viii. ix.). 

Mary in reply does promise rewards, but not to the six nor for 
the special work of the six. She undertakes ' to recompense by 
effects your deserts for my delivery ' ( ix. xv.). 

2. Babington again ( ix.) asked for ' your Majesty's authority to 
assure' the six of 'honourable reward.' Mary answers this ( ix.), 
' To yourself in particular I refer, to assure the gentlemen above 
mentioned [she has last mentioned "our principal friends"] of 
all that shall be requisite on my part for the entire execution of 
their good-wills.' And again at the end, ' I do and will think 
myself obliged, as long as I live towards you, for the offers you 
make to hazard yourselves, as you do, for my delivery.' 

Looking for the moment not to the morality of the offers but 
only to the strict meaning of Mary's words, we see that they con- 
tain at this critical point a distinct withdrawal. Asked to reward 
the six, she promises rewards (1) for her ' delivery,' which was not 
the work of the six ; (2) To 'the gentlemen above mentioned,' i.e. 
to all active friends ; (3) Babington may not give her royal assur- 
ance of recompense, but only his own ; (4) Moreover, he may not 
attach rewards to definite acts : her rewards will be ( as shall be 


requisite.' It is obvious that there is a withdrawal here, at the 
critical point. It does not require any superlative cautiousness to 
see that. 

But of course the conspirators, at that moment anxiously catch- 
ing at every straw, were the last people in the world to interpret 
Mary's letter strictly, clause by clause. The general tone was 
that of consent, and they applied this to all their plans. Babing- 
ton indeed said, ' I think Tichborne made some question of the 
Scottish Queen's letters (Confessions, iii. 1), but I remember not in 
what manner.' ] We may say then that Mary's reserves made no 
impression on the conspirators. 

Returning now to Mary's plea, that her words would not sub- 
stantiate the charge against her, we can now see how full of 
significance that plea is, and how minutely the textus receptus 
agrees with what she contends her answer really was. Where 
we are dealing with negative evidence, we must be specially 
cautious in our conclusions, but at all events we may say that 
the text stands the test imposed by the Queen's words. 


In the last section we saw that to the crucial point, where 
Babington explicitly asked for rewards to the six gentlemen, Mary 
gave no consent. We still have to consider another allusion to the 
murder plot. In iii. (6) she said, ' Examine deeply by what means 
the six gentlemen do deliberate to proceed,' and further on, vii., 
she says, ' Then shall it be time to set the six gentlemen to work.' 
Without Babington s letter we should not know what the work of the 
six gentlemen mas: from viii. of his letter we know it was 

Moreover, her orders about ' the time ' are different from 
Babington's. Babington had put her escape first of all. Mary puts 
' the work of the six ' first. With this before us we cannot abso- 
lutely say that she shows no knowledge whatever of the murder plot. 
But the important question is, Does she also approve by these words ? 

It would seem not, if the refusal conveyed elsewhere is suffi- 
ciently intelligible. She is not prescribing here any line of action. 

1 Tichborne's confession is lost. All that remains is a note or summary 
by a hostile hand, comprised in a single sentence (Boyd, ix. p. 185). 
This makes no question at all of Mary's consent even in the passage 
noted above, where the textus receptus represents her as making limita- 


In case Babington had resolved on any other plan, e.g. one of 
capture and carrying off, as several of the conspirators proposed, 
these words of Mary would not at all stand in the way ; while the 
refusal of her consent, alluded to above, would have strengthened 
such a proposal. 

No doubt the point is an obscure one : we must not wonder if 
some people are unable to take the view here proposed. There 
can be no doubt that the puritans of that day considered this, and 
indeed every passage in Mary's letter, as a capital offence. 

Mary's defence turned upon her being an independent queen, 
unrightfully kept in duresse. From her point of view even an act 
of war was licit, in order to obtain liberty. If she had written in 
perfectly plain language on this obscure passage, I fancy she might 
have said, ' It is not for me to approve or condemn the assassination. 
But if it is done at all, it should be done first.' 

From Babington's own point of vieAv the plot was utterly illicit, 
supposing that it was only made on his private authority. Hence 
his anxiety to obtain a declaration from ( authority ' through Gilbert 
Gifford (Confessions, i. 9) ' that this action was directly lawful in 
every part.' In this letter also he is asking Mary to assume the 
necessary authority, and to persuade her he exaggerates constantly, 
as he owns in Confessions, viii. 1. With the same ill-balanced, 
uncertain spirit, he prepared, not long after writing this, to give 
up Ballard, whom he here so much praises. Finally, when captured 
he laid all the blame on his companion, and surrendered all claim 
to defend the goodness of his cause. 

Mary's conduct was very different. She never wavered in the 
defence of her cause, which was certainly very much stronger 
than that of the rest. 

Both Mary and Babington's letters abound in character strokes, 
Babington is youthful and enthusiastic, clever but shallow, and 
remarkably credulous. His style is dignified and impressive. 
Mary is far more masculine and mature than the English gentle- 
man. Though enthusiastic and rash, she is less so than he. The 
exalte tone which pervades Babington's letter is absent. She is 
far-seeing and sensible, and her courage never falters. 


There are many contemporaneous transcripts of this set of 
letters, and they are all so nearly equal in value, that it is not 
easy to assign a preference for one rather than another. 


1. The best seem to be in the Record Office, Mary Queen of 
Scots, xix. n. 12, ff. 75-79, and xviii. n. 53, ff. 114-122. All are in 
the same hand, but they have belonged to two sets. They are in 
wrong order because Babington's undated letter is bound after 
that which is dated (i.e. No. 10 above is under No. 15 belong. 

This group presumably descends more directly from the originals 
than any other for these reasons. It retains the original cipher 
signature for Queen Mary, ) (. It has the Jupiter mark ^ (more 
than once), which was used in Walsingham's office, more or less 
in the sense we now use N.B. This, joined with the fact of its 
being in the Record Office, makes it probable that the copy was 
written by one of his clerks. It also contains two or three small 
contemporary corrections, and everywhere shows great care. 
This is the text selected for printing. 

The date of the copy must be later than the attestations of Nau 
and Curll, which ^ire entered in the same clerk's hand. Therefore 
it is not earlier than September. But we do not definitely know 
any copy which is earlier still. I call it R.O. 

Another text of good authority is that in the official record of 
the evidence during Mary's trial, now B.M. Caligula, C. ix. ff. 463 
to 466, and ff. 467 to 474. This is a fair copy : the official < Writers ' 
at the trial were ' Edward Barker, principal Register to the 
Queen's Majesty, and Thomas Wheeler, public Notary, Register 
of the audience at Canterbury.' This text is also very careful and 
accurate, but owing to the frequent contractions then used by law- 
clerks, it gives less aid in settling variant readings. The date will 
be shortly after October. I call this text Cal. 

Besides these I have used H. Bresslau's text in the Historische 
Zeitschrift (von Sybel, at Munich 1883), bd. 52, pp. 270-318, made 
by collating the four copies at R.O., which are all good. Sepp 
reprints this in Briefrvechsel mil Babington, 1886. Referred to as 

Important in its way is the first printed edition of the letters, 
from A defence of the honourable sentence and execution of the Queen 
of Scots, at London, printed by John Windet ; in B. Museum, G. 
1737, ascribed by conjecture to M. Kyffin, 1587. The letters 
occur at the end on a new signature, D. to E. 3. The tract is 
very rare (see J. Scott, Bibliography of Mary Queen of Scots, nn. 
145, 163). There is also a French translation of this, Apologie ou 
Defense de I' honorable sentence, &c., 1588, which follows the readings 
of the English. Two of these are peculiar. Babington called 


Poulet ' a mere Leicestrian/ and Mary advised Babington to look 
for a leader among the Howards. Both these phrases are omitted, 
evidently in order to avoid offending a man or a family which was 
powerful at Court. This text will be referred to as K. (Kyffin). 

The MSS. which I have collated in the Yelverton Library 
( Yelverton MSS. xxxi. 206) follow the K. text. The French version 
(ibid. 243) is closely connected with the French copy at R.O., 
printed by Labanoff, vi. 385, and gives the signatures of the Com- 
missioners at the end. Referred to as Y. 

The Bardon MS., printed by the Camden Society in 1909, and 
edited by Dr. Conyers Read, shows a text very closely related to 
the Record Office copy. Referred to as Bar. 

Modern paragraphs (numbered), as also punctuation, are used. 
They are far more easy to refer to, and no ancient copy sets a 
standard which is authoritative in such things. The original 
cipher would have been all one paragraph, without even a dis- 
tinction between the words. 

It must be remembered that the ancient copyists of these letters 
did not aim at literary (much less at literal) accuracy ; only at 
legal fidelity to the text before them : and they were quite 
eclectic about such variants as 'hath' and ' has,' 'my/ 'mine,' 
' my own,' the singulars and plurals of collective nouns, e.g. force 
or forces. It would be labour wasted in collating to enumerate 
exhaustively all such variants. We cannot get back beyond the 
accuracy of our earliest texts. I have not attempted to give here 
more variants than may be sufficient to identify the families of 
texts noted in this section. 


As this letter was originally written in French and translated 
by a Scotsman, several Scotticisms and foreign constructions may 
be traced. 

Scotticisms. vi. ' unnaming ' for not naming ; ix. ' unbeing 
assured ' for not being assured ; ix. ' unhap ' for mishap ; x. 
' take hold 'for succeed. 

Unusual turns probably due to translation. iii. 4, ' which would 
be compassed conform to the proportion to yours ' for which 
should be in proportion to yours ; xii. ' To seek upon the young 
earl ' for to make inquiry about the young earl. 


i. Truftie and welbeloved/According to y e zeale and entier 
affection w ch I haue knowen in you towardes the coihon 
caufe of relligion and mine, having alwaies made accompt 
of you as of a principall and right worthie member to bee 
emploied both in the one and the other : It hath been no 
lefle confolation vnto mee to vnderftand yo r eftate as I 
haue done by yo r laft, and to haue found meanes to renewe 
my intelligence w^ 1 you, then I fealt grief all this while 
paft to bee without the fame. I pray you therfore from 
henceforth to write vnto mee fo often as you can of all 
occurrences which you maie iudge in anie wife important 
to the good of my affaires : wherevnto I mail not faile to 
correfpond with all the care and diligence that mail bee 
in my poflibilitie. 

ii. ffor divers great and important confiderations, which 
were here to long to bee deduced, a I cannot but greatly 
praife and coinend your coirion defyre to pvent in time 
the deneignements of our enemies for the extirpation of 
our relligion out of this Realme with the ruine of vs all. 
ffor I haue long agoe mewen vnto the foraine Catholick 
princes, and experience doth approve it, the longer that 
they and wee delay to put hand on the matter on this 
fyde, the greater leafure haue our faid enemies to prevaile 
and win advantage over the faid princes, as they haue 
done againft the king of Spaine, and in the meane time 
the Catholickes here remaining expofed to all fortes of 
pfecution and crueltie doe daily diminim in nomber forces 
meanes and power. So as yf remedie bee not therevnto 
haftely pvided, I feare not a little but they mall become 
altogether vnable for ever to arife againe and to receave 
anie aid at all, whensoever it were offred them, ffor mine 
owne b part I pray you to affaire our principall frendes 
that, albeit I had not in this caufe anie particuler intereft 
(that w ch I maie pretend vnto being of no confideration 
vnto mee c in refpect of the publicque good of this ft ate) 

a. deduced, so R.O., K., etc., Cal. and Bres., etc., deducted. 

b. mine owne, so R.O., Bres., Cal. my. 

c. unto me, so R.O., Cal., and K., but French version omits. B. re- 
peats particular before consideration. 


I flialbe alwaies readie and moft willing to emploie therein 
my life and all that I haue or maie ever looke for in this 

iii. No we 1 for to ground fubftantially this enterprife 
and to bring it to good fuccefle you muft fir ft examine 

1. what forces afwell on foote as on horfe you maie 
raife amongeft you all and what Captaines you mall apoint 
for them in everie (hire, in cafe a chief general cannot bee 

2. of what townes portes and havens you maie affaire 
yo r felves, afwell in the Nort west as South to receave 
fuccors from the lowe Contries Spaine and ffraunce. 

3. what place you efteem fitteft and of greateft advan- 
tage to aflemble the principall companie of your forces at ; 
and the fame being afTembled, whether or w ch waie you 
haue to march. 

4. what foraine forces afwell on horfe as foote you 
require (which would bee compaffed conforme to y e 
proportion of yours) for howe long paied, and munition and 
portes the fitteft for their landing in this Realm from the 
three forefaid foraine princes. a 

5. what pvifion of money and armo r (in cafe you want) 
you would afke. 

6. By what meanes doe the ffixj 2 gentlemen deliberate 
to proceed. 

7. and the maner alfo of my getting forth of this hold. 

iv. Vpon which pointes having taken amongeft you, 
who are the principall authors, and alfo as fewe in nomber 
as you can, the beft refolution, my advice is that you 
impart the fame with all diligence to Barnardino de Mendoza 
ambafTado r lieger 3 for the king of Spaine in ffrance, who 

a. princes, .so R.O., C. and K. read countries. 

1 The first of the Points out of the Scottish Queen's letter, subscribed by 
Curll, 23 September. Printed in Kyffin, sig. F.2. This point covers iii. 
As the title indicates, a few unnecessary words and phrases are omitted. 

2 For the daggers see introductory paragraphs, 4. 

3 Lieger means a ' resident " ambassador : allied to our word ' ledger.' 


befides thexperience hee hath of the eftate of this fyde, I 
male aflure you tvill emploie him therein moft willingly. 
I (hall not faile to write vnto him of the matter w th all the 
earned recomendations that I can ; as I mall alfo to anie 
els that fhalbee needfull. But you muft make choife for 
managing of this affaire with the faid Mendoza and others 
out of the Realme of fome faithfull and verie fecreate 
perfonage vnto whome only you muft coniitt yo r felves, to 
thend thinges bee a the more fecreate which for yo r owne 
fecuritie I recommend vnto you above the reft. 

v. If 1 your memnger bring you back againe fure 
pmife and fufficient aflurance of the fucco r you demaund, 
then thereafter (but no fooner, for that it weare in vaine) 
take diligent order that all thofe of yo r ptie on this fide 
make fo fecreately as they can, provifion of armo r , fitt 
horfe & readie money, wherewith to hold them felves in 
readines to march fo foone as yt fhalbee fignified vnto 
them by their chief and principalls in everie mire. 

vi. And for better coloring of the matter (referring b to 
the principall the knowledge of the ground of the enterprife) 
yt fhalbee inoughe for the beginning to geve out to the reft, 
that the faid provifions are made only for fortefying yo r felves 
in cafe of need againft the puritans of this Realme : the 
principall whereof having the chief forces of the fame in 
the lowe Contries, haue (as you maie lett the brute goe) 
deffeigned to mine and overthrowe, at their returne home, 
the whole Catholicques, and to vfurpe the Crowne, not only 
againft mee and all other lawfull pretenders therevnto, but 
againft ther owne Queen that nowe is, yf mee will not 
altogether coinitt her felf to their only government. The 
fame pretextes maie ferve to found and establifh amongeft 
you all an aflbciation and confederation generall, as done 
only for your owne iuft prefervations and defence, afwell in 
relligion as lives, landes, and goodes againft the oppremon 
and attemptes of the faid puritans, w%out touching directly 

a. be, Cal. inserts kept, all others omit. 

b. reserving, so Cal., R.O., B., K. referring. 

1 The second of the Points out of the Scottish Queen's letter begins here, 
and goes on to ' Puritans of this realm ' in vi. 


by writing anie thing againfl that Queen, but rather 
{hewing yo r felves willing to mainteine her and her lawfull 
heires after hir, vnnaming mee. 

vii. The affaires x being thus ppared and forces in 
readines both without and w%in the Realme, then mall 
yt bee time to fett the ffixf 2 gentlemen to woork, taking 
order, vpon the accomplifhing of their defTeying, I maie be 
fodainly transported out of this place, and that all yo r 
forces in the fame time bee on the field to meete mee in 
tarying for y e arrivall of the foraine aid, w ch then must bee 
hastened with all diligence. 

viii. Now, for that there can bee no certeine daie apointed 
of the accomplifhing of the faid gentlemen's defTeigne- 
ment, to thend that others maie bee in readines to take 
mee from hence, I would that y e faid gentlemen had alwaies 
about them, for at the leaft at Courtf, 2 a fower ftout men 
furnifhed with good and fpeedie horfes, for, fo foone as the 
faid defTeing fhall bee executed to come with all diligence 
to advertife thereof thofe that ihalbee apointed for my 
tranfporting, to thend that immediatly thereafter they 
maie bee at the place of my aboade, before that mie 
keeper can haue advife of thexecution of the said defTeing, 
or at the leaft before he can fortefie him felf within the 
howfe, or carie mee out of the fame. It were necefTarie to 
difpatch two or three of the faid advertifers by divers waies, 
to thend that, yf the one be'e ftaied, the other maie come 
thorough ; and at the fame inftant were yt alfo needfull 
to aflaie to cutt of the poftes ordinarie waies. 

ix. This is the platt 3 w ch I find beft for this enterprife, 
and the order wherby you mould conduct the fame for 
our comon fecurities. ffor fturring on this fide before you 
bee well afTured of fufficient foraine forces, yt were but 
for nothing [but] a to putt yo r felves in danger of following 
the miferable fortune of fuch as haue heretofore travailed 

a. for nothing but, so Cal., others but for nothing. 

1 The third of the Points goes on to viii., ' out of the same. 

2 For the daggers see the introductory paragraphs, 4. 

3 The fourth of the Points : two lines only to ' securities.' 


in like occafions. And to take mee forth of this place, 
vnbeing before well afTured to fett mee in the middeft of a 
good armie, or in fome verie good ftrength, where I may 
fafely ftaie on th'aflembly of your forces and arrivall of 
the faid foraine fuccors, it were fufficient caufe geven to 
that Queen in catching mee againe, to enclofe mee for ever 
in Come hole, forth of the w ch I mould never efcape, yf 
mee did vfe mee no worfe, and to purfiie with all extre- 
me tie thofe that had aflifted mee, w ch would grieve mee 
more then all the vnhap [w ch ] might fall vpon mie felf. 
And therfore muft I needes yet once againe admonifh you 
fo earneftly as I can to looke and take heed moft care- 
fully & vigilantly to compafTe and asffure fo well all that 
mall be neceflarie for effectuating of the faid enterprife, 
as with the grace of god you maie bring the fame to 
happie end : remitting to the iudgment of our principall 
f rends on this fide w th whome you haue to deale herein, to 
ordaine [and] conclude vpon this prefent (which mail ferve 
you only for an overture and propofition) as you (hall 
amongeft you find be ft : and to yo r felf in particuler I 
refer to afTure the gentlemen above mentioned of all that 
fhalbee requifite of my part for the entier execution of 
their good willes. 

x. I leave alfo to your common refolutions to advife a 
(in cafe their defleignement doe not take hold as maie 
happen) whether you will or not purfue mie tranfport 
and thexecution of the reft of thenterprice. But yf the 
mifhap mould fall out that you might not come by mee 
being fett in the tower of London or in anie other ftrength 
w th greater gard : yet notwithftanding leave not, for god's 
fake, to proceed in the reft of thenterprice : for I ftiall at 
anie time die moft contented, vnderftanding of yo r deliverie 
forth of the fervitude wherein you are holden as flaves. 

xi. I mail 1 aflaie that, at the fame time that the work 
fhalbe in hand in thefe partes to make the Catholicques of 
Scotland arife and to put my fonne in ther handes, to 

a. to advise, Cal. and K. omit. 

1 The fifth of the Points : to end of xi. 


theffect that from thence our enemies here male not pre- 
vaile of anie fucco r . I would alfo that fome fturring in 
Ireland weare labored for, and to be begonne fomewhile 
before that anie thing weare done here, to thend the 
alarme might bee geven therby on the flatt contrarie fide 
that the ftroke mould come from. 

xii. Your reafons to haue fome generall head or chief, 
mee thincketh, are verie pertinent, and therfore were it 
good to found obscurely for the purpofe the Earle a of 
Arundell or fome of his brethren, and likewife to feeke vpon 
the yong Earle of Northumberland, yf he bee at libertie. 
ffrom over fea the Erie of Weftmerland maie bee had, 
whofe howfe and name maie b much, you knowe in the 
north ptes : as alfo the L. Pagett, of good abilitie in fome 
fhires hereabout ; both the one and the other may be 
brought home fecretely : amongeft w ch fome mo of the 
principall banimed maie returne yf the enterprife bee once 
refolute. The faid L. Pagett is nowe in Spaine, and maie 
treate there all w ch by his brother Charles or directly by 
him felf c you will committ vnto him touching this affaire. 

xiii. Beware that none of your mefTingers, whome you 
fend forth of the Realm, carie over anie letters vppon them 
felves, but make ther difpatches bee conveied either after 
or before them by fome other. Take heed of fpies and 
falfe brethren that are amongeft you, fpetially of fome 
prieftes * alreadie practifed d by our enemies for your 
difcoverie, and in anie wife keepe never anie paper about 
you that in anie fort maie doe harme : for from like errors 
haue come the only e condemnation of all fuch as haue 
fuffred heretofore, againft whome could there otherwife . 

a. K. omits from The Earl . . . to ... at liberty. 

b. B. inserts do. 

e. or directly by himself, Cal. and K. omit. 

d. practised by our enemies, K. by our enemies wrought. 

e. have . . . only, Cal. have only come the. 


1 It would be interesting to know whom Mary had in mind at this 
place. Several priests indeed had fallen through fear, as others had done, 
but none of these had been systematically ' practised for betrayal.' She 
was probably thinking of ex-seminarists, but not priests, like Nichols, 
or Munday, or Caddy, who troubled the Catholics much about the time 


haue been nothing proved. Difcover as little as you can 
yo r names & intentions to the ffrench Amb r nowe Lieger 
at London : for althoughe hee bee, as I vnderftand, a 
verie honeft gentleman, of good confcience and relligion, 
yet feare I y* his M r enterteineth with that Queen a 
courfe farr contrarie to our defleignementes : which maie 
move him to crofTe vs, yf it mould happen hee had anie 
particuler knowledge thereof. 1 

xiv. All this while paft I haue fewed to change and 
remove from this howfe, and for anfweare the Caftle of 
Dudley only hath been named to ferve the turne : fo as 
by apparance within the end of this fomer I maie goe 
thither. Wherfore advife, fo foone as I (halbee there, 
what provinon maie bee had about that part for my efcape 
from thence. If 2 I ftaie here, there is for that purpofe but 
one of thefe three meanes following to be looked. a 

The firft that at one certeine daie apointed in my walk- 
ing abroad on horfback on the moores betwixt this and 
Stafford, where ordinarely you knowe verie fewe people 
doe paffe, a fiftie or threefcore men well horfed and armed 
come to take mee there, as they maie eafely, my keeper 
having with him ordenarely but eighteen or twentie horfe- 
men only with dagges. 

The fecond meane is to come at midnight or foone after 
to fett fyre in the barnes and (tables, which you knowe 
are nere to the howfe, and whileft that my Gardian his 
fervants mall runne forth to the fire, your companie 
(having everie one a marke whereby they may knowe one 

a. looked, State Trials adds for. For look in the sense of look for see 
Murray's Oxford Dictionary under Look, I. 6. d. 

of Campion's death. Nevertheless, the advice was excellent. Gilbert 
Gifford, the deacon, was the evil genius of the plot ; and the priest Ballard, 
though no traitor to his own side, was the unbalanced enthusiast, who 
carried the conspirators into their fatal errors. Unfortunately it was 
Mary's own servant Morgan who set both to work on lines which led up 
to the great calamity. 

1 This passage was, of course, used in subsequent diplomacy in order 
to make Henri in. withdraw from Mary's defence. 

2 The sixth Point begins here, and goes on, two and a half paragraphs, 
to ' suddenly away.' 


another vnder night) might furprife the howfe, where I 
hoape with the fewe fervantes I haue about mee, I weare 
able to giue you correfpondence. 

And the third, fome that bring Cartes hither ordinarily 
comming early in the morning, their Carts might bee fo 
prepared and with fuch Cartleaders that being iuft in the 
middeft of the great gate y e Carts might fall downe or 
overwhelmed and that therevppon you might come 
fodainly with your followers to make your felf M r of the 
howfe, and carie mee awaie : fo you might doe eafely, 
before that ever anie nomber of fouldiers (who lodge in 
fondrie places forth of this place, fome a half and fome a 
whole mile off) might come to the relief. 

xv. Whatfoever yflue the matter taketh, I doe and will 
thinck my felf obliged, as long as I live, towardes you for 
the offers you make to hazard your felf as you doe for mie 
deliverie, and by anie meanes that ever I maie haue I mall 
doe my endevo 1 to recognife by effectes yo r defertes herein. 
I haue comaunded a more ample b alphabett to bee made 
for you, w ch herewith you will receave. 

God almightie haue you in protection. 

Your moft allured frend for ever ) (. 
ffaile not to burne this prefent quickly. 

[The forged Postscript. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 55. Cipher in Phelippes's 
hand. Redeciphered and collated with the decipher of the late Mr. Lemon. 
See P. F. Tytler, History of Scotland, 1864, iv. 127.] 

P.S. I wold be glad to know the names and qualities 
of the sixe gentlemen, which are to accomplish the de- 
signment, for it may be, I shall be able upon knowledge of 
the parties to give you some further advice necessary to be 
followed therein ; and even so do I wish to be made 
acquainted with the names of all such principal persons 
[&c.] as also from time to time particularly how you 
proceed, and as soon as you may, for the same pur- 

a. overwhelm, so Boyd, Bar.,, Y., Bres. reads overthrow. But 
overwhelm is also used intransitively. See Murray, Oxford Dictionary, 
Overwhelm, I. d. 

b. ample, so Cal. and K., Bres. ample. Both Cal. and K. end with 
the word receive. 


pose, who be already, and how far every one [is] privy 
hereunto. 1 

End. by Phelippes. Postscript of the Scottish Quenes 
lettre to Babington. 

No. 15 

[London, 3/13 August 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xix. n. 10. Official copy, marked iv, and contains 
the authentication. 'This is the true copie of the last lettre which I wrote 
vnto the Queen of Scotes, Anthonie Babington.' 

Your letters I receaved not vntil the xxix* 11 of July. 
The cause was my absence from Lichfield contrarie to 
promise. Howe dangerous the cause thereof was by my 
next letters shalbee imparted. 2 In the meane time your 
Maiestie maie vnderstand that one Mawde (that came out 
of ffrance with Ballard, who came from Mendoza concern- 
ing this affaire) is discovered to be for this State. Ballard 
acquainted him with the cause of his comming, and hath 
emploied him of late into Scotland with letters. By whose 
trecherie vnto [what] 3 extreame danger my self haue 
been, and the whole plott is like to bee brought, and by 
what meanes we haue in parte prevented, and purpose by 
gods assistance to redresse the rest, your Maiestie shalbee 
by my next 4 enformed. 

Till when, my soveraigne, for his sake that preserveth 
your Maiestie for our common good, dismaie not, neither 
doubt of happie issue. It is goddes cause, the churches 
and your Maiesties, an enterprise honorable before god 
and man, vndertaken vpon zeale and devotion, free from 

1 The composition of this postscript should be compared with the 
beginning of Mary's letter, where she makes much the same request. 
Her style, it will be seen, is queenly and sincere : here there are constant 
repetitions and a want of all inspiration. When once the cloven hoof is 
recognised here, its trail will be recognised throughout the postscript. 

2 Bardon adds ' at large.' 

3 Here the text reads ' my,' so also xix. u, and xix. 12, and the Bardon 
text. But the sense requires ' what/ and it is probable that we should read 
' this treachery,' for ' whose treachery.' 4 Bardon here adds ' letter.' 


all ambition and temporall regard, and therfore no doubt 
will succeed happely. We have vowed and wee will per- 
forme or die. What is holden of your [Maiestie] 1 pro- 
positions together with our finall determinations, my next 
shall discover. 

In the meane time resting infinitely bound to your 
highnes for the great confidence it hath pleased you to 
repose in mee, which to deserve by all faithful service I 
vowe before the face of our Lord Jesus, whom I beseech 
to graunt your Maiestie a long and prosperous raigne, and 
vs happie successe in these our vertuous enterprises. 
London this third of August 1586. 

No. 16 

[C hartley, Friday, 29 July/ 8 August 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 86. Curll's cipher, 15 lines, redeciphered. 
Phelippes's decipher is No. 87, and it is endorsed by him 'Curie to Emilio.' 2 
This note covered the dispatch of Post iii, which shows the influence of 
Babington's plans. 

SIR, Her Maiestie geueth yow continual thankes for 
yowr care and trauel taken to lett her vnderstand of such 
occurrences as yow doo, wherof frequently her Maiestie 
cannot be aduertised by others, as by the rare cuming of 
secret letters vnto her handes which passe throg yowrs, 
yow may well iudge. 

Yowr desyre to have warning beforehand shall be satis- 
fyed so wel as may be, which hithertil hath not much bene 
forgotten and specially for the sending of this inclosed 

1 Maiestie ; wanting in all the R.O. texts, but Bardon reads ' mo.' 

2 The name Emilio does not occur on the cipher No. 86, but on the back 
of Phelippes's decipher No. 87. It has also occurred on the back of 
No. 9. But it makes little difference who was meant by this name. 
Whatever the original object of the name was, the personage was certainly 
fictitious ; a man of straw, at this stage. The recipient was Phelippes. A 
fortnight earlier Phelippes had used the name Emilio Russo for quite a 
different impersonation (see Morris, pp. 225, 226). 


packet 1 wherof I wrote to yow ten dayes before the day 
appointed for the dispatching therof and shold haue bene 
sent to yow on Monday last were [it] not that those which 
came with yowrs the same day cawsed it thus so long to 
be delayed. 2 Her Maiestie prayeth yow now to send it 
away by yowr boy to the French Ambassador so soone as 
yow may goodly. 

And if yow think that yow can find Babington at London, 
by the same meanes to mak her Maiesties two letters, 3 
which yow have alredy, be surely delyvered to him. 

Doubting by yowr foresayd (w ch to tell yow fryely I 
founde dimcil in discipring and therfor some pointes lesse 
intelligible then I wished) that myself haue erred in 
dowbling 4 of the addition which I sent yow, throw some 
haste I had then at dispatcheing therof. I pray yow to 
forbeare the using of the sayd addition untill that agaynst 
my next I may put the wholl at more leasure in better 
ordor as I hope to doo both for yowr gretar ease and 

If I have not mistaken yowr meaning towcheing the 
mark that is for yow it is yowr desyre that in yowr absence 
her Maiesties letters or mine requyring spedy disciphering 
that on the back therof for yowr brother his better direc- 
tion, as .yow name it, yowr sayd marke may be written 
twyse or thryse, which (untill yow let me know the con- 
trary) shal be so. 

God almighty preserue yow. Fryday the seuenth of 
August. 5 CURLL. 

Addressed, ff. See also p. 47, n. 2. 

1 Post iii, with letters to Mendoza and others on the general situation 
caused by Babington's plans. 

2 The sense is, ' I wrote (No. 13 above] giving you ten days' notice for 
this post, i.e. appointing Wednesday last. It would have been ready 
last Monday, but for Babington's letter.' 

3 Two letters to Babington, i.e. Nau's about Poley, No. 12, and Mary's 
answer, No. 14. 

4 Phelippes erroneously deciphered ' doubling ' as ' setting down.' 

5 There is in the date another mistake in the style. Friday was 29 July 
Old Style, and 8, not 7, August New Style. Friday is likely to be right, 
for Poulet sent it up to London on Saturday 30 July Old Style (Morris, 
p. 247). 



No. 17 

[Ely House, 18 to 20 August 1586.] 

Very little has hitherto been known of this important paper, by far the clearest 
and fullest contemporary source for the history of the plot, which is yet 
accessible. In the Hardwicke State Papers, i. 225, an abstract was printed of 
its first page, and of 11. This abstract was derived from the official record of 
the trial already cited, now B.M., Caligula, C. ix. ff. 456-459. This Caligula 
text, though so short, gives readings which are everywhere superior to those 
of the Yelverton text now published ; it also gives the authentication at the 
end (p. 66, below). 

The complete text, now published, is taken from MS. Yelverton, vol. xxxi., 
ff. 218 to 223. (See Catalogi librorum MSS. Anglice, &c., Oxford, 1697, No. 
5270.) Its date is about 1600; the hand is the ordinary clerk's hand of that 
time, and the copyist errors are numerous. When very, very small these have 
been silently corrected; sections and paragraphs are inserted. The col- 
lector of the papers was Robert Beale, once clerk of the Privy Council. 
His signature appears on some of the documents in this volume. The late 
Lord Calthorpe (a descendant of Beale) permitted me to photograph these 
papers, and for his great kindness I shall ever be grateful. 

[ 1, f. 218. First acquaintance with Mary's party, 

Passing into Fraunce without licence the yeare 1580, 
I remayned there six months, for the most part at Paris, 
the rest of the time at Roan. I conversed most with Mr. 
Thomas Worseley, Chideoke Tichborne and Mark Ive. 
During the same time Thomas Morgan, being in Paris, 
came as of courtesie to visit me, offered to me all friendship, 
and in the end conducted me to the house of the Bishop 
of Glasgow, Ambassador Ledger in France for the Queene 
of Scotts. They both recommended their mistress to me 


as a most wise, virtuous and catholique Princess ; de- 
claring withall the certayne expectation of her future 
greatness in that land, by reason of her undoubted title 
to this croun as the next in succession l : whereof I myself 
made no question. By these insinuations [I was] induced 
to respect her. 

Then by their letters after my departure out of Fraunce 
(as it appeared) they commended me unto her. Where- 
[upon] she writes unto me a letter of gratulation. It came 
to my hands by the means of Mris Bray dwelling in 
Sheffield. Not long after my journey to London, de 
Courcelles, Mauvissiere his secretary, came unto my 
lodgings, and delivered me letters from Morgan, by which 
I was solicited vehemently to procure the delivery of a 
packet therein closed, afferming the service to be very 
meritorious, full of honour and profit, and a matter of 
small moment if discovered. 

By which means moved I sent the packet to the Queene 
by means of Anthony Rolston, whose means only, together 
with Mris Braye, I used for the convey of all such packets 
as I sent unto the Queene, which to my remembrance 
were five at several times during the space of two yeres. 
Being weary of which service (as it was of great danger 
and more hurtful to this state then before I conceaved) 
I was desirous to cease from further proceeding in that 
course. [This] I did three moneths before her remove 
from the Earl, 2 and ever since, till Julie 3 last paste, as 

1 Babington would not have written thus if (as our popular historians 
assert) he had previously been her page, and was enamoured of her. 
Introduction, p. cv. 

2 Mary was removed from the Earl of Shrewsbury's custody to that of 
Sir Ralph Sadleir, 25 August 1583. 

3 ' July.' This is the reading of MS. Caligula, for ' June ' of Yelverton. 
Mary's letter, written on 25 June, was answered on the 6th of July, and 
therefore probably received on the 4th or 5th. The letters from Morgan, 
then forwarded, cannot now be identified. In Hardwicke State Papers, 
i. 227, the sense is inverted. Mary is represented as wishing to send 
packets to Babington which she has received from Morgan. (See also 
below, 9, n.) 

The passage printed in Hardwicke State Papers stops five lines 
further on. 


I remember, when I received by a boy unknown to me, 
letters in sifer, signifying her discontentment for the 
breache of intelligence, [and] requiring me to send by that 
bearer, as I did, certain letters which I had received from 
Thomas Morgan in Aprill (as I remember) last past directed 
unto her. Which letters I was earnestly entreated to 
convey unto her, but did not seke the means : only I kept 
them in safety, having immediately before the same sent 
back unto Morgan another packet directed likewise unto 
her, utterly refusing to deal any further in those affairs. 

[I] purpos[ed] to travell into France, Sir Edward Fitton l 
being meanes for licence for me and Mr. Salisbury, there 
and in Italy to have spent my time, until it might please 
God to have dedicated my[self] to his service and study, 
and not once to have intermeddled in matter of state 
or practise against the state present. Which course of 
travell we found very convenient, our states and the 
danger of the time considered, with the capital laws 
against the entertainment or accompanying of Catholique 
prestes, 2 without whome we desier not to live, holding 
them more necessary for our souls [than] food for our 

Which pretended iourney not taking effect, through our 
misfortune, Sir Eduarde not prevailinge in the suite for 
our license, such was our hard destinye by God's iust 
iudgment for our sinnes, that remaining heare at London 
togeather, it was our mishap to be drawen into these cursed 
courses, by the persuasion of such as abused our zeal in 
religion, 3 and the youthful ability of our bodies and mindes, 
ambitious of honour and fame. Woe be to them there- 

1 Sir Edward Fitton the younger, see D.N.B., also Gillow, under Peter 
Fytton vere Biddulph. The trial says that he went to Ireland, and Father 
Persons (see next note) mentions him as an active Catholic who eventually 
died there. 

2 This confirms Weston, as quoted in the text (ch. v.), and Persons, 
Life of Campion (privately printed, Roehampton, 1877), p. 29, that 
Babington had been one of those who ' accompanied priests ' at the time 
of the Jesuit Mission. But it does not support Mr. Simpson's surmise 
that a secret society was formed to do this. (See The Month, June 1905.) 

3 See below, Interrogation i. 


fore, that have overturned so many happy estates, and 
denied such and so many familyes heretofore of unspotted 
fidelitye with so infamous and hatefull an accion, in de- 
priving us of life and desire of lyfe, and the common- 
wealth of the service of men most resolved in whatsoever 
they apprehend. 

[ 2, f. 218. Ballard comes to Babington.] 

About Maye last as I remember, ther came unto me 
at London, at my lodginge in Hernes rentes, 1 one Ballard, 
a man whom I had knowen before his departure last into 
Fraunce. He toulde me he was retorned from Fraunce 
uppon this occasion. Being with Mendoza at Paris, he 
was informed 2 that in regarde of the iniuries don by our 
state unto the greatest Christian princes, by the nourish- 
inge of sedition and divisions in their provinces, by with- 
holding violently the lawful possessions of some, by 
invasion of the Indies and by piracy, robbing the treasure 
and the wealthe of others, and sondry intolerable wronges 
for so great and mighty princes to indure, it was resolved 
by the Catholique league 3 to seeke redresse and satis- 
faction, which they had vowed to performe this sommer 
without farther delay, havinge in readiness suche forces 
and all warlike preparations as the like was never scene 
in these partes of Christendome. 

The Pope was chiefe disposer, the most Christian kinge 

1 According to the indictment (Fourth Report of Dep. Keeper, Ap. ii. 
p. 276) the visit took place at the very end of May. I cannot identify 
Herne's Rents. The Alphabetical index of the Streets, Squares, Lanes, 
Alley's, &>r. in Rogues' Survey of London, 1747, does not give the name, 
though a long list of ' Rents ' shows that the term was then still in vogue 
in London. Boyd (p. 615) mentions ' Heron's Rents.' Holinshed, iv. 260, 
speaks of 'Hern's Rents, Holborn.' This place was the scene of most of 
the meetings now to come, and its identification would be interesting. It 
was presumably near St. Giles's Church, facing which the conspirators were 
executed ; the spot being chosen as representing the scene of the crime. 
Cf. also p. 71, ' My lodging at Mr. Cooks.' 

2 Mendoza's real message was very different. Introduction, p. xciv. 

3 All that follows about an international Catholic League is popular 
fiction (see Introduction, p. xvii.). 


and the kinge Catholique with all other princes of the 
league concurred as instruments for the righting of these 
wronges, and reformation of religion. The conductors of 
this enterprise for the French nation, the D. of Guise, or 
his brother the D. de Maine 1 ; for the Italian and His- 
panishe forces, the P. of Parma ; the whole number 
about 60,000. 2 

And hereupon he cam ouer to informe thus muche, and 
to sounde the Catholiques of this land, for assisting in this 
enterprise [and] for the preservation of their possessions, 
uppon which the stranger would enter by right of con- 
quest, without sparing any, in case they did not declare 
them selves 3 with [the] performers. 

I tould him I held the princes so busied with home 
affaires, as I thoughte they coulde not intende the in- 
vasion of this countrie, untill their owne were setled : 
wherof ther was little expectation as yet. And if they 
would invade, I could not conceive from whence they 
should have so many men or means to transport them. 4 
Further, that I held their assistance on this side small, 
notwithstandinge the excommunication (which either was 
or should be revived), 5 so longe as her Maiestie dothe live, 
the state beinge so well setled. 

He answered that difncultie would be taken away by 
meanes already layde, and that her lyfe coulde be no 

1 In MS. Demaine. 

2 It sounds suspicious that Savage thought the army of 60,000 men was 
to be raised in England (Boyd, 6n). 

3 In MS. sent for selves. 

4 Although Babington here represents himself as having talked very 
good sense, yet he spoke at the time as though he quite believed in the 
Papal League (see his letter to Mary, 2). Mary, however, did not answer 

5 See Interrogation 2. The statement is made doubtfully, because there 
was an erroneous report made in 1579, that the excommunication was 
renewed. What, then, happened was, that the bull was reprinted un- 
officially by some Catholic opponents to the Alen9on match. In 1583 the 
bull was actually renewed in secret, but not reprinted, for an empresa of 
that year. This has only recently come to light (see The Month, April 


hindrance therein. He told me the instrument was Savadge, 1 
who had vowed the performance thereof, and some other, 
whose names he tould not, neither was I inquisitive, as I 
gesse Gifforde, and one in courte neare sir Walter Raweleye. 2 

[ 3, f. 219. Discussions with Salisbury, Tichborne, 
and Barnewell, June 1586.] 

We departed for that tyme. Soone after Mr. Salisbury, 
Mr. Tuchburne, and Mr. Barnewell, inquiring what I 
thought herein, I tould them that we seemed to stande 
in a dilemma. On the one side leaste by a massacre (as 
enoghe hath been doubted) the magistrates here would 
take awaye our lives, or by the lawes allready made, by 
meanes whereof there is no Catholique, whose life is not 
in theire handes. And on the other side lest the straunger 
shoulde invade and sacke our Countrye, and bringe it into 
servitude to forenners. 

Twixte which daungers hanginge, we discoursed much 
of bothe. In the reformation we found conclusion of our 
estates, dishonour and desolation of our countrye : in the 
delaye thereof extreame hazard. The evill opinion, which 
the State had of Catholiques being manifested by sondrye 
bookes imprinted, that all Catholiques are traytores, and 
that it was not possible for a Papist to be a good subiecte, 
which opinion holden, must needes assure us of the desire 
of our extirpation, if there were meanes. Which, that 
there wanteth not, is apparent ; it remayninge in their 
powre by the late statutes 3 to prove any Catholique, how 
precise of conversation so ever, a tray tor. 

1 Savage was really only an inferior agent in George Gilford's plot. 
But George was in the Queen's favour, so his name was carefully removed 
from the records of the trial. Babington here and below alludes to him 
(bslow, 8, and Confessions, iii. 5), but the Christian name is omitted, and 
people would think that William or Gilbert Gifford was intended. 

2 ' The person near to Sir Walter Raleigh.' Here again a clue con- 
nected with a court favourite, which was never followed up. On the 
contrary, Raleigh received part of Babington's estates, because forsooth 
Babington had taken his name in vain. The words are repeated below ( 8) . 

3 By ' late statutes,' Babington, no doubt, referred to the bloody law 


This considered, how lamentable our estates seemed, 
may welbe discerned. And let any man iudge what 
spurres these desperat perills be to pricke forwarde men 
of suche bodyes and mindes to perpetrate any thinge, to 
adventure their delivery from suche extream termes, or 
at least their countrye and fellowes in faith, by their deathes 
holden honorable. And likewise in what daunger the 
state dothe staund, in which remaine infinite number of 
men in the same termes, and by consequence of the same 
mindes ; whome either utterly to root out, or by some 
more easy toleration to holde better content, seemed to be 
expedient for the security of the state. That any tolera- 
tion would ever be admitted was dispaired of. Extirpa- 
tion therefore * was to be loked for, upon the first assur- 
ance of any such occasion, as might seem sufficient to 
excuse the fact somewhat abroad and hold satisfied the 
multitude at home. 

Thus we discoursed. In fine for conclusion I told Mr. 
Salisbury that for the avoiding of both those extremities, 
I held the best course to depart the realm, with licence, 
if it were possible, if not without, rather then to stay ; 
aswell in regarde of the daunger by this present state 
threatened, if it so remaine, as allso in regarde of the 
miserye and wretched estat, which this realme was like 
to be brought unto in every man's expectation, when her 
maiestie should be taken away, by the sundry competitors 
of great habilitie, both within and without the realme ; 
and that, as there was small conceit of any securitie, the 
state standing as it dothe, and the opinion of us as it is. 
So likewise remaineth there smale hope of any happiness 
after her Maiesties decease, the Queene of Scotts her 

of 27 Elizabeth c. ii., Introduction, p. xxv., just passed, ' Against Jesuits, 
etc.,' under which so many martyrs suffered. Indeed, no Catholic could 
escape it, ' how precise of conversation so ever,' when magistrates were bent 
on a conviction. The ' sundry books ' cannot so easily be identified. He 
may have meant the many printed attacks upon the martyrs, on Throck- 
morton, Parry, etc., which were singularly brutal ; and so, too, were many 
of the sermons and political addresses during the fanatical election of 

1 The MS. reads ' despaired. The extirpation thereof.' 


person remaining in great daunger at that day, whensoever 
it should fall, and not like to live longe though she should 
come unto the crowne by reason of her age and healthe, 
her son a prince of whome we had smale expectation of 
any good in religion ; no other Catholique claiming except 
a stranger, whome to admit I could never thinke the 
catholique partye woulde [agree]. 1 Which sorrowful con- 
siderations moved a conclusion to depart the realme, in 
which intention we left each other for that time, hasteninge 
Mr. Poolye the pursuite of our licence, which he had under- 
taken and had brought me to Mr. Secretarye once before, 
unto whome I made proffer of service in generall tearmes, 
and with many honourable speeches was dismissed. 2 

[ 4, f. 220. Babington becomes leader, 5-9 July.] 

After returning unto London I met with Ballard 3 nere 
my lodginge, and asked him how he had found the Catho- 
liques whom he had sonded, affected. 4 He answered, those 
that should be most forward were most slowe, and the 
older the colder, and wished me to undertake to sound the 
whole realme : I told him there were sundry other more 
fit, of greater age, authoritie, conscience, and experience ; 
and that it would be helde extreame of presumption for 
me or any younge man to undertake the managinge of so 
great an accion. He said they would not ; and by sondrye 
agravations of the daungers before mentioned wherein we 

1 Babington had been grossly deceived by Ballard (or Gifford), if he 
really thought that any stranger had claimed the English Succession. 
Speculation, indeed, on a Spanish successor had commenced, and as to this 
Babington spoke at greater length in Confessions, v. 

2 Babington's first interview with Walsingham was late in June, at 
Greenwich, the second was at Barnelms in the first days of July (see Poley's 
Confession, M.Q.S., xix. 26, Boyd, p. 595). 

3 The earliest definite date which we have for Ballard's return from the 
North to London is Saturday, 9 July (Morris, 221), when he asked for 
letters at the French embassy. But he may have been back a few days 

4 See Interrogation 4. 


live, by commending the acte to be of great honor, of 
singular merite, easy to effectuate (the meanes considered), 
and the not undertaking thereof both hurtfull and dis- 
honorable : that, if I would undertake it, I should have 
at the handes of the same league whatsoever was neces- 
sary. I entertained the discourse of it, upon condition he 
would surceas from further proceeding other then I should 
direct him. Further, I advised that Savadge should sur- 
cease from procecuting his intention, which he said was 
to kill her Maiestie, but whether by swords or pistolls I 
know not neyther the manner, as a thing reiected upon the 
first knowledge thereof. 

[ 5, f. 220. The Surprise of the Queen's person.} 

During this time there was a proposition by Mr. Edward 
Abbington to surprise the person of the Queene 1 and to 
have carried her to some strength, ther to have advised 
her to graunt toleration in religion, if not reformation ; 
and that so doing we should have taken care of the pre- 
servation of her health and life, removing from her such 
as should be thought meet, and placing other Catholiques 
in their room. 

I conferred concerning the action 2 of the Queene' s 
person with the three aforesaid gents (whome my love and 
interest drue into this practise as parties) though before 
they had had understanding thereof 3 (yet without doubt 
I presume they had never dealt therein but in regarde of 
me) ; and with Mr. Tilney and Mr. Abbington ; which 
five, Mr. Salisbury excepted, were disposed to undertake 
the exploite for the Queene's person, if it were holden 
lawfull, whereof Mr. Barnwell doubted and some others ; 
but for the invasion and surprising of her person they 
made no doubt. 

1 See below, Interrogation 5. 

2 By ' action ' or ' exploit ' of the Queen's person Babington here 
clearly means assassination : by ' surprise ' her capture only. 

3 See Interrogation 3. 


[ 6, f. 220. Dealings with individuals.} 

Not any durste communicate this action vnto S r John 
Arundell, S r Thomas Tresham, S r W. Catesbie or M r John 
Talbot of Grafton, for that it was harde say, they should 
save, ' It behouethe vs to suffer with Christian patience 
whatsoeuer affliction authoritie might impose vppon vs.' 
And if any should come to sounde them, they would be 
the first accusers of them. 

John Savadge was contented to surcease from further 
attemptinge what he had vndertaken, vppon condition 
that he might be imployed in the same action, which was 
promised him by me ; otherwise he would not, in regard 
of his vowe, 1 which he had solemply taken. 

With Tuichburn I never spoke touching any parte of 
the practise neather did I knowe whither he was privie 
thervnto or no, notwithstanding we recommended him one, 
in regard he was a verye stoute man, resolute and zealous 
in religion, whome in our intention Balard and I reconed 
one of the sixe with M r Abbington, Tilney, Tichborne, 
Barnwell and Savadge. I dealt with Charnocke, and so 
had Ballard, Don, and Savadge, but never had his 
expresse resolution therin. 

[ 7, f. 220. Dealings with Poley.] 

I conferred with Robin Pooly concerninge this action, 
who I presume hath discovered that parte longe since. 2 
I proposed vnto him three Courses, in any of which he 
vowed to followe me before he knew what they were. I 
told him I disliked of the course holden with M r Secretary 
bo the by him and me, indifferent betwixt the two states, 
and not very sincere vnto ether. 

Mythought it was better to aduise eyether to dedicate 
ourselves to the preservation of this from all practises 
daungerous to the Queene person or the state, which I 
presumed, by reason of my credit with the Catholiques 

1 For Savage's vow, see above, Introduction, p. xlv. 

2 Interrogation 6, p. 69 below, clears up some of the obscurities here. 


here and elswhere, did lye expressly in my power, or 
otherwise to the subversion of the present, or lastlye to 
leave the service of bothe and dedicate ourselves to a 
contemplative life, leaveinge the practize of all matters 
of estate. 

He with an indifferent conscience swore vppon his sal- 
vation to follow me and my fortunes in any of those 
directe contrary cources that I should vndertake, asked 
me which I liked beste. 

I tould him the contemplative life, so should we beare 
no blame of any or ether partye, and spend our tyme 
there in securitie, with profit in study, whilest this state 
stoode, and after, if it please god to sende a good world, 
we mighte take the ffruit of other mens labors, exempted 
from the daunger accompanyeinge the chaunge. 

He helde the Course to departe the realme beste for any 
particuler, but added withall that he had euer founde me to 
reckon little of my particuler in question of any common 
good, and that no doubt one of the other two Courses 
were better, if it could be advised, which I proposed vnto 
him, then preservation of the present estate with the 
hazarde of the other, which he allowed not. It rested then 
of necessatie to imbrace the last, which he did willingly in 

[ 8, f. 221. Lingering.] 

And thervppon I persevered therin, who otherwise (if 
so he had aduised), had departed the Realme with these 
other gentlemen my adherentes. But beinge by extreame 
fortune denyed meanes to travell, and perswaded by this 
man and Ballarde that this course was beste, I still enter- 
teyned the practyze, but with suche extreame delayes as 
might well bewraye the repugnance which was in my 
nature, and the dislike which in conscience I had of this 
facte ; by meanes wherof no doubte her Maies tie's lyfe 
was preserved. 

Ballard oftentymes reproved my slownes, and tolde 
Henry Donne that he doubted I would discouer it vnto 
the Queene her selfe, vnto whome he harde I should be 


brought : the which no doubt I had don, if [I] might haue 
bene in assured hope of pardone for the rest, whome I 
loved so muche that I could not indure to discouer it to 
there overthrowe. 

This lingeringe, as no man of resolved malice could haue 
don in a case so extreame daungerous, we debated obiter 
(to entertayne the tyme and their expectations) of many 
fowle practices, as What if the shippes were burned ? 
which I liked not, beinge the strengthe of the realme. 

Ballard said the gunnes might be poysoned they could 
never be discharged. Pooly saide it was convenient for to 
take awaye my L. of Leycester by poysoii or violence. I 
thought there were men, and he meanes, to doe it. 

He named likewise my L. Threasurer and M r Secretarye, 
who mighte easely be taken away. 

These three thinges beinge onlie spoken of, rested so ; 
and was not resolued by whome nor when, neyther in what 
exprese manner, nor assuredly to be put in execution at all. 1 

They still cryed out of my delaye 2 as a thinge tendinge 
to the discouerye therof. I excused it with the expecta- 
tion of Gilbert Gifford's retorne, 3 uppon which I did affirme 
somewhat to be don. 

[ 9, f. 221. Gilbert Gifford revives the plot, 
June 26 to July 11.] 

Gilbert Gifford before this was come over to Savadge, 
muche discontented that he left of to execute what he 
had vowed, and that he could not be discharged in con- 
science, vppon the pretences which I made, of his dis- 
continvance from prosecutinge the same ; all which he 
harde as meare delayes. 

1 See Interrogation 7. 2 See Interrogation 8. 

3 Gilbert made two journeys abroad, and two returns. The plot was 
only started after the first return, in early June. So the only return which 
could have been expected, was the second, at the end of June. As to this 
he said in his confession, ' Revera autem ex parte mea totum hoc ideo erat 
factum ut negotium illud de interficienda Regina Angliae conficeretur, 
quod tune agebatur.' This is said in regard of ' ultimi mei reditus in 
Angliam.' Hatfield Calendar, iii. 348, 14 August 1588. 


I tolde [him] that I would he should assure vs from be- 
yonde the Seaes by authoritie, 1 that this action was 
directly lawfull in every parte ; that there might be assur- 
ance geven of the readines of all suche provision as was 
required 2 ; that some authoritie were granted 3 for the 
int 4 [? advancing] of men to dignities and some offices, and 
to haue rewards granted for suche as should vndertake 
any daungerous attempt. Vntill all which were don, I 
aduised him to with holde suche as were imployed against 
the Queene person, which then was Savadge, Gifforde, and 
one as I remember said to be nere S r Walter Rawley. 5 
If he did not, I protested and swore I would discover it 
vnto the Queene, which he much disalowed, as Savadge 
tolde me. He went ouer * dislykinge muche my courses, 
he said he was to passe by meanes of the frenche Ambasador 
as a frenchman. 

Haveinge meanes to send to the Queene of Scotts by 
the boye that came for her packet, I writt vnto her 
touchinge everye particuler of this plott, vnto which she 
answered xx or xxx dayes after accordinge as in my former 
confessions is declared, which if theire honors Comande, I 
shall repeate. 7 

1 ' Authority ' for the lawfulness of the action was probably to be asked 
from Dr. Allen, or some ecclesiastic in high position, as the Nuncio in 
Paris, but we know no details. We do not know that Gilbert ever 
attempted to execute this commission, except perhaps sardonically, 
when he provoked Mendoza t"o write. As to which see Introduction, 
p. clxxiv. 

2 ' Assurance of readiness.' Mary was very insistent that this should 
be asked from Mendoza (Letter in.). But Babington cannot have known 
this when giving Gilbert Gifford this commission before 21 July, as 
Mary's letter only arrived on the 29th of July (see Letter iv.). But the 
precaution was an obvious one. 

3 See Interrogation 9, and Babington's answer to it, below, p. 70. 
* Blank in MS. See p. 21, nn. i, 2. 

5 The same words have occurred before, above p. 54. 

6 He went over 21/31 July (Chateauneuf's Memoire, Labanoff, vi. p. 292). 

7 Babington's letter was about the 6th of July. He returns to his 
correspondence with Mary in n. 

The ' former confessions ' here mentioned are no longer forthcoming. 
This present confession probably covers the same ground. 


[ 10, ff. 221, 222. Details. Probably Answers to 
further questions.] 

Edwarde Windsor was made privy vnto this action by 
Ballarde, and after I confered with him at the request of 
Ballarde touchinge the deliverye of the Queene of Scotts, 
or the takinge of Killing worthe Castell. 1 He offered to 
doe his parte in eyther of them. The meanes to take the 
Castle I never kiiewe ; the rest I communicated vnto him, 
wherof he allowed. 2 

The meanes of the attempt of her Maiesties person nor 
the manner was never resolued, but rather left to the dis- 
cretion of the parties. It was spoken of in her Coche, 
ridinge on horsbacke or walkinge into the perke or other 
like place, or it was holden that any of these havinge 
accesse into the Chamber, with sure expence of his life, 
might without fayle performe it there. 

M r Barnewell I resolued to haue sente vnto London, to 
the house of an Onckle of myne Richard Babbington in 
Tuttle streate, or to the house of one Winde in S* Johns 
Streate to knowe [if ignorant of these broyles] f 3 which I 
presumed had not bene so greate, they would have received 
me, where I would haue remayned close, vntill the storme 
had bene past. During which tyme we would haue en- 
devored passadge by meanes of father Edmonde the 
Jesuite or some other, and to haue sought by some meanes 
for a passadge downe the Temes, or to haue gon into an 
Ilande in the west 4 vppon M r Tuchborne his direction geven 
therin. We thought to haue wone to Wales or towardes 
Lirpole ; so to Irelande or Scotlande ; but to the houses 
of any Catholique any frinde I never ment ; except to 
M r Salisbury, if his Countrye had risen, as I presumed. 

M r Edwarde Abbington proposed the L. Strange his 
title, in case the Queene of Scots should dye. His opinion 
was that eyether he was disposed of him selfe, or at leaste 

1 Killing-worth. This variant for Kenilworth, as the State Papers show, 
was then fairly common. 

2 See Interrogation 10. 3 Some words seem to be missing. 

4 The ' Island in the west ' may have been Lundy (see Interrogation n). 


a Septcr woulde make him become a Catholique, and we 
thought that mans title would be beste admitted which 
they singulerly favour, next to that of Scotlande, and I 
thincke preferre it before the yonge prince, in case he 
persist in religion. Other talke concerninge that I re- 
member not. 

I talked with M r Charnocke 1 and he referred him selfe 
to be disposed by me, this action by me. [Sic.] 

I talked with S r Thomas Gerrerde 2 of the takinge of the 
Queene of Scottes, wherin he should haue bene an actor. 

That euer I comitted [? conversed] with any other 
touchinge this plott I doe not at this tyme remember. If 
there Honors do conceaue any thinge to be inquired here- 
vppon I shall answere therevnto accordinge to my know- 

M r Barnwell and I were resolued to stand to the denyall 
of euerye parte of this action, and to affirme that he 
departed the towne for the greate love he bare to me. 

Other speches concerninge the attempt of the Queene's 
person then before mentioned, I doe not remember ; how 
be it, it is not vnlike but that we at sondrye tymes dis- 
coursed of the same matter, but euer to that effectc 

Ballard tolde me amongest other motions that there 
was one man woulde deliver me two thowsand pounds 
towards the Charge of the action, what his name was I 
knowe not. 

[ 11, ff. 222, 223. Correspondence with Queen Mary.] 

This is a continuation of 9, and is further continued in 
Examination 4 below. For facility of comparison the section 
figures from the original letters are added, and the report will 
be found remarkably accurate. 

I writt a lettre to the Queene of Scottes and gave it to 
the vnknowen boye 8 ; the tenner of it was [ ii.] That 
Balarde coming from Mendoza had informed me of the 

1 See Interrogation 12. 2 See Interrogation 13. 

3 The unknown boy was, of course, Phelippes's messenger. 


purpose of the Christian princes touchinge this Countrye, 
and [ iii.] that I was desirous to [do] her some service 
therein for hir deliuerye ; [ iv.] If there were assurance on 
the other side of suche things as were necessarye to this 
exployte, [there] woulde not fayle of coresponden[ce] on this 
side ; [ viii.] that there were sixe would vndertake some- 
what vppon the Quenes person, [ vii.] and that my self with 
sixe * others would vndertake her deliuerye ; [ iv., c.] that 
there were portes to be found 2 for the landinge of the 
forces, [ iv., b] and assistance sufficient within to ioyne 
with those without ; [ ix.] that rewardes were necessarye 
to be promissed to the cheefe actors for theire better in- 
couradgement, and to be geven to theire posterities if 
they miscarye in the execution. 

Vnto this lettre I receaved an answere in the same cipher 
by which I write vnto her, but by an other messenger, 
which was a homely servinge man in a blew cote. He 
brought a lettre from his M r 3 vnto me, by which he pro- 
mised to discouer him self by the next dispatche vnto me, 
subscribed no name, willed me not to be curiouse or in- 
quisitiue vntill his owne cominge. The inclosed lettre, 
which he by his saide to come from the Queene of Scotts, 
was of this tenner : 

[ i.] Declaration of her good opinion of me and due 
thanks for my readines to do her service, that she woulde 
not fayle to corresponde in all thinges she might, that she 
woulde aduise me so sone as resolution should be taken 
herein, [ iv.] that I woulde with all speede imparte it to 
Mendoza, [ iii. 1] consideringe first what forces on foote 
or on horsbacke we coulde make, what place for their 
asemblye, what leaders in euerye shere, [ xii.] what generall 
or Cheefe leaders there were named to be sounded for 
that purpose the Earle of Arundell or his Brothers, the 

1 ' Sixe,' for ten. Mary does not mention the number ten, which may 
account for Babington's slip of memory. 

2 ' Found.' So the Caligula text, which gives this section n. The 
Yelverton reading is ' sounded/ which is, as so often with this scribe, an 
inferior version. The original was ' appointed.' 

3 ' Mr. ' His master was really Phelippes. 


Earle of Northumberland, and (from beyond the Sea) the 
Earle of Westmerlande, the L. Paget and the others 
banished to folow them ; [ iii. 2] then the fittest [ports] in 
the west, Northe and Southe partes, to receave ayde from 
ffraunce flanders and Spaine, what nombers to invade, for 
howe longe paid, 1 [ iii. 4] what provision of munition, 
armoure and money, [ iii. 6] in what manner the Six gent 2 
ment to execute theire purpose : [ viii.] advisinge that 
there should be some men in readynes about the Court well 
horsed to bringe worde when the designement was per- 
formed, to the ende she might be taken awaye before her 
keeper could eyther convaye her awaye or fortifye the 
place, [ xiv.] proposinge three meanes for her delyvery. 
The first that when she should ride abroade vnto a certaine 
more twixt that and Stafforde, her keeper beinge accom- 
payned but with xviij or xx, it might be easye for fiftye 
or three score to take her awaye. 

The seconde waye to set fier in the barnes and Stables 
neare the house about midnight and when they should 
come to quenche the fyer, we beinge nere might surprise 
the house and take her awaye. 

The third that before daye in a morninge a Carte 
comminge with provision to the house, there might be such 
Carters appointed that might cause the Carte to overturne 
when it should be iust in the gate, so that they should not 
possibly shut them, duringe which tyme we might enter 
with safety the Solders lyenge distant some halfe a myle 
and more from the place. [ ix. xv.] And so willing 
me to assure the gent of all that should be required of 
her for their good, she ended 3 requiringe to knowe the 

1 So Caligula. Y. has a blank. 

2 Babington here runs together the two occasions in which ' the six * 
were mentioned by Mary. The introductory phrases correctly represent 
iii. 6, where ' the six ' were mentioned first ; but he goes on, as from 
the second mention of the six in 7. In Examination IV. below he is 
prompted to say more about the second mention of the six, and he does 
so quite correctly. 

3 The next sentence describes the forged postscript. But Caligula, C. ix. 
459, which was read in court, is brought to an end exactly at this point ; 
evidently in bad faith, to prevent the forgery from being detected. 



names of [the] sixe gent : that she might give her aduice 

I write for answer by the same messenger that so sone 
as any resolution should be taken I would informe her. 

[ 12, f. 223. Final Plans.} 

Within three dayes after the writtinge of this lettre, 
Ballard was taken, 1 vppon whose apprehension, forced 
with the extreame daunger to be discovered and then no 
hope of any pardon for so hatefull an offence, the attempt 
vppon the Quenes person was then, and neuer till then, 
resolued on my parte, which I moved vnto Savadge, 2 
which motion accordinge to his former vowes, he readely 
imbraced. I sought in the meane tyme to obtayne liberty 
for Ballarde vnder pretence of better service ; which not 
takinge effecte and my selfe restrayned. I departed the 
Towne in hope to escape into Fraunce or to Hue obscurely 
ells where. 

Dunne, 3 as I presume was acquaynted herein by the 
meanes of Ballard with whome he [was] muche convarsant. 
I acquainted him with the invasion, but I do not remember 
that I tolde him of the manner of the Quenes deathe, but 
he had knowlidge of some thinges to be donne therein, but 
by whome it was to be donne, I thincke he was ignorant. 


Caligula, C. ix. f. 459, has this attestation : 

Confessed before us, and by him self also written at 

sundrie times betweene the eighteenth and Twentieth of 

Auguste 1586. 

THOMAS BROMLEY, Cancellar : 

1 Ballard was arrested on the 4th of August, five days after the receipt 
of Mary's long letter, but only one day after Babington's answer to it. 

2 See Interrogation 18. 

3 MS. reads Denis. 


No. 18 


[Ely House, 20 August 1586.] 

Yelverton MS., xxxi. ff. 223-6. Babington's further examinations differ consider- 
ably from his first. In that he aimed at telling his story fully and finally. 
In these his veracity and the completeness of his confessions are being tested. 
Upon the whole he comes out well from the test ; no substantial error is dis- 
covered, and no notable omission. Additional information is given of course, 
especially on fundamental ideas of Catholic politics, etc., which had not been 
touched before, and there is much that is valuable and interesting, especially 
in Examination V. After this came the commital to the Tower on the 25th 
of August. The delay over this was probably due to the time it took to move 
on prisoners previously immured there (Oath. Rec. Soc., vol. ii. pp. 253-76). 
But meanwhile the government had nearly finished their quest, and after 
two more examinations the lawyers step in to prepare evidence for the trial. 

Interrogations are extant for Examinations II., IV., V., but not for III., 
VI., VII., VIII., IX. Though on separate pages in the MS. they are here 
combined ; questions in italics with answers, and numbers are added to both. 
The first set of questions is based seriatim on Confession I., and references 
are added to the passages concerned. 


(1) Who were those that muche abiused your zeale in 
religion and drew yow into these courses, and how many? 
[On 1, p. 51.] 

Ballard abused my zeale in religion by manye and often 
perswasions, drawinge me and the rest into these courses. 
He is able to witnes my dislike of the acction, soundrye 
tymes tellinge him that I woulde get me over, and the 
rest with me, and never meddle in matters of state againe. 
He reprehended muche my delayes at soundrye tymes ; 
and vppon my could proceedinge, suspected I would dis- 
couer it, as he tolde to Henry e Dun sondrye tymes. 
Savadge likewise disliked the same delayes. 

(2) When and by whose meanes was the excommunication 
to be revived, and to what effecte, and whether it be rcviued 
or no ? [On 2.] 

That the excommunicacion is revived I doe not vnder- 


stand ; yf it be, by the meanes of the Pope who hathe a 
greate regard of the reformation of this Countrye. 

Ballard helde expressly that the excommunicacion did 
not neede to be revived, standinge in sufficient force. 

Savadge had asked the opinion of some learned in france, 
touchinge the lawfullnes of his vowe for the deathe of the 
Quene, declaringe her former excommunicacion never re- 
voked but onlie tolarated for a tyme in regarde of the 
subiects, who otherwise could not obaye her without 
mortall sinn. The opinion of that learned man was that 
the acte was verye lawfull and meretorious that the ex- 
communicacion could not be revoked by the Cannon lawe 
without the submission of the partye. 

(3) By what meanes and when had Barnewell, Salisburye, 
and Tychburne first vnderstandinge of these attempts, and 
what moved them to enquire of yow, what yow thought therein, 
and when and where ? [On 3.] 

Salisburye had vnderstandinge (as he told me then) by 
Savadge three monethes or more before Ballard's comminge. 
Ticheburne and M r Barnewell, eyther by M r Salisbury or 
by Ballard, I thincke theire purpose, to concurre with 
me in any course then moved, then to inquire my 
oppinion. It was soone after [? his] comminge over, and 
eyether in the feldes of Grayes In or Lincolns In. 

(4) Who were those Catholiques which Ballard had sounded 
andfounde could? [On 4.] 

Who they were whome Ballarde had sounded I never 
knewe, nether whome he had founde could. 

(5) When and at what tyme did Edward Abbington moue 
the exposition for the surprisinge of her maiesties person, and 
who were then present and made acquainted with the same ? 
At what tyme and at what place did Abbington and Tilney 
yeld to vndertake the exploite for destroyenge of her Maiesties 
person, and who were then present ? [On 5.] 

I knowe not where it was that M r Abbington moved the 


surprise of the Queene, but I thincke M r Tilney and M r 
Tuchburne were present, and but that once I never re- 
member to have talked with M r Tilney concerninge any 
parte of this action, neyether doe I remember that eyether 
of them did consent directive to take awaye the Queenes 
life, but I did reckon them two amongest the sixe, for that 
they had offered for to surprise the Queene. 

(6) When and where did yow discourse with Robert Pooley 
touchinge these matters ? What perswacions did Pooley vse 
vnto yow, when and where ? [On 7.] 

Concerninge these things I discoursed with Pooley nere 
my lodginge I thincke three weekes since. He held not 
lawfull the killinge of the Queene, but for the three pro- 
posed Courses he aduised me, as by my former confession 
is declared, which was to reforme this estate rather then to 
preserve it with the subversion of the Catholique religion, 
or to leave our Countrye standing indifferent. 

(7) Where and when were these discourses touchinge the 
burninge of the shippes, poisoninge of the Gonnes, takinge 
away of the Earle of Licester, and who and how manye were 
present and to geather at the same ? [On 8.] 

Where the discourse was for burninge of shippes I knowe 
not. It was but moved and disliked. Ballard said the 
Gunnes might be poysoned : I thincke in the feldes nere 
my lodginge. 

Oneley Robin Pooley and I talked of the Erie of 
Leycester as I haue before confessed, in the garden or 
feildes of my lodginge. I told some of the others that the 
world would reforme very well by a tolleration, the Queene 
livinge, if my L. of Leycester and my L. Threasurer were 
taken awaye, and not any of these sixe but would be farre 
more readye to performe any thinge against them, as an 
act in theire conscience farre more lawfull, for so said, as 
I remember, M r Tuchburne and M r Barnewell. Savadgc 
was readye to have bene imployed in that or any other 
daungerous parte of the enterprise. 


(8) Who were those that ' cryed out on your delay e ' and 
how manye? [On 8.] 

[There is no answer to this question.] 

(9) What is meant by these words, ' that some authoritye 
were graunted,' and who and by whome were they to be so 
authorised? [See 9.] 

It was meant that the Queene of Scotts should graunte 
authoritie vnto some to give certaine offices and dignities 
necessarye for this acction ; that the authoritye were 
graunted to whome it might please her ; that suche should 
be advanced thereby as were founde willinge and able to 
doe greate service in this acction, which was to be knowen 
when they were sounded. But to sound them I helde not 
convenient vntill the verye instant of execution, and that 
all thinges were assuredlye in readines before, bothe on 
the other syde and this, and therfore I had not entered 
into any consideracion thereof. 

(10) When and where did yow conferre with Ed Windsor e, 
and how often and what was that reste which yow comuni- 
cated vnto him, and which he allowed ? [See 10.] 

I conferred with Edward Windsor but onely concerninge 
this matter to my remembraunce, and that was at South - 
hampton house, at which tyme Ballard and Savadge were 
there. [? We] comunicated vnto him, that some thinge 
was to be done by sixe touchinge the Queene' s person ; but 
I doe not remember to haue named them to him. I 
told him of the surprise of the Queene of Scotts, in which 
he offered to be one. For the takinge of Killingeworthe 
Castell I moved him, wherin he offered to indevoure what 
he coulde ; but the meanes I doe not remember. The 
inuasion w th what soeuer Ballard knew, I presume he 
knew before. 

(11) What direction did M r Tichburne givs for the Hand 
in the west, when and where ? [See 10.] 

M r Tuchborne gave no direction concerninge the Ilande. 


He onlie told M r Bamewell, after I was departed the 
towne. that there was suche a convenient place, whence 
he hoped we might have passadge. 

(12) When and where did Charnock reporte him self to 
be disposed by yow in what action ? [See 10.] 

M r Charnocke never referred himselfe vnto my dispossi- 
tion vntill the same night that Ballard was taken ; then 
he offered to spende his life wherin I should directe him. 
I discoursed that Ballarde had trusted Mawde and Mawde 
had betrayed him, so that it behoved some thinge to be 
done presentlye, and that I hopped Ballard should be 
restored vnto his libertye, by meanes of hoppe of better 
service w ch I had geven M r Secretarye, the which was the 
effecte of our talke in Poweles Churche yarde. 

(13) When and where did yow talke with S r Tho Gerarde 
and to what end, and what was the verye speeche that passed 
betwene yow at that tyme ? [See 10, note 2.] 

I talked with S r Thomas Gerrerd, as I take it, once at [his] 
house at Chanon Rowe, and at my lodginge at M r Cookes, 
when he came to require me to be bounde for him vnto 
M r Kinnersley. I told him at the first there was a brute 
of an invasion, from whence and what number. And 
after,, when I talked v? ih him concerninge the same, I 
told him theire would be an invasion, and that the Queene 
of Scotts should be taken awaye ; in w ch exployte I asked 
whether he would be one. He answered he woulde. I 
bidd him rest so vntill he heard more from me, w ch he 
shoulde not fayle to doe -so soone as any thinge was 
concluded. As a man necessarye for any thinge, other 
then his owne person and servantes for the takinge of the 
Queene, I did not holde him ; and therefore I did not 
wishe him to sounde any one, neather did I thincke it con- 
venient to imparte vnto him any of the rest of the exployte, 
being resolved not to have communicated to any touchinge 
this affayre (other then with the aforenamed who were 
acquaynted from the beginninge) vntill all things were in 


readiness and assurance both on ther syde and this, vnto 
which rypenes it never grewe as yet. 

(14) When and where did Ticheborne saye vnto yow that 
he would spende his life with yow, and wherin did he offer 
to spend his life with yow, and when and where did he say 
vnto yow that he would doe any thinge that should be honor- 
able and famous, and vppon what occation saide he so, and 
what meante he thereby? 

[This and the next three questions do not seem to be 
founded upon Examination I.] 

Since Ballardes coming, but I know not about what 
tyme, and as I think at my owne lodginge, Mr. Tuchburne 
offered to be one to undertake the dispatch of the Queene 
yf it were defined for lawfull, or any other thinge, much 
rather tendinge to the reformation of our countrie, that 
were honorable and meritorious of what danger so euer, 
though there were nether expectation of life nor rewarde 
for the zeale, which he did beare to the Catholique cause, 
I told him I would imploye his life to the best, otherwise 
not at all, nether without assurance of infinite fruit to our 
countrye, and rewarde to him and his posteritie, worthie 
his resolution. 

(15) When and where did yow speake with Ed. Abbington 
touchinge the distroyenge of her Maiestie, and when and where 
did he saye vnto yow that he would willingly enter into that 
facie and liked well of it, when where and how often did yow 
talke with Tilney of the saide acction against her Maiestie 
and what allowance did he give^ of it ? 

With Mr. Abbington I never conferred more then as I 
haue before mencioned, neyther with Mr. Tyhiey any 
more then what I have before declared. 

(16) When and where was it that Barnewell saide vnto 
yow that he would willingly adventure his life in this acction 
of takinge awaye her Maiestie ? 

Mr. Barnewell, as I take it at my owne lodginge, said 


that he would willinglie spende his life eyther in that of 
the Queenes person, if it were helden lawfull and meri- 
toryous, or muche rather in any other parte of the accion 
that should be profitable to the Catholique cause, without 
life or rewarde. I told him his honorable resolution should 
not fayle to be rewarded worthely, and that I woulde 
imploye his life to singular profit, otherwise not, which he 
recommended to be imployed by me whereinsoever. 

(17) Where was Robert Gage made acquainted or pry vie to 
the purpose of destroyenge of her Maiestie or the invasion of 
the realme, when, where and by whome, and what assent or 
allowaunce gave he to the same ? 

That euer Robert Gage was acquainted with the inuasion 
I doe not knowe, nether with any other parte, being not 
holden a man of any execution, and therefore not necessary 
to be acquainted therewith. 

(18) Wherfore after the apprehendinge of Bollard did yow 
move Savadge to execute the facie for distroyenge her Maiestie 
with speed, without taryinge for any further ayde or expect- 
inge the invasion, and when and where was the same ? 
[See 12.] 

I asked Savadge in regarde of the present daunger of 
discouerye wherein we remayned vppon Ballardes appre- 
hension, what was to be don. Who said no remedy but 
to hasten the execution. I was of that opinion, that there 
was no other meanes to secure our lives but that ; and 
therefore I willed him to be in a readines, and I would ad 
some of the other unto him for assistance. Mr. Tuchburn 
was then lame of a leg, and therefore could not assist. 
The hope which I had to recouer Ballard's liberty made 
me defer the conclusion, meaninge vppon his deliverye, 
eyther all to have departed, if possible we could, or other- 
wise for our last refuge to have performed that, our former 
designment, by so many of these as were in readynes, and 
to have sent ouer presentlye, that the Strangers should 


hasten, in as greate nomber as they coulde, with prouision 
of all things iiecessarye, munition, monye, and vittayle, 
and that the L. Padget should haue hastened his repay re 
in pryvate towardes Stafford Shere, the Earle of West- 
merland with forces into the Northe partes, my selfe in 
the meane tyme would have departed the Towne post into 
the Counties of Stafford and Derbye and Worester, to haue 
moved suche the principall there of Catholiques and 
Schismatiques as I thought most likely to be drawen 
herevnto and able to drawe the rest of the Countrye so 
disposed in religion or for any other cause discontented, 
for the takinge awaye of the Queene from Charteley and 
for ioyninge with her vntill some forayne forces should 
aryve ; but that euer I sounded any man in the sayde 
Countryes, I denye. 

The talke betwixt Savadge and me was at the garden 
where Poly did lodge. 

(19) Whether were any of the other sixe to haue hastned 
the same act against the Quenes Maiestie vppon Ballarde's 
apprehension, and who and how manye, and what don in 
that behalfc ? [On 12.] 

I tolde M r Tychborne I was much discontented his legg 
was so evill for that we were in daunger to be discouered, 
and therefore we were either to flee or performe somewhat, 
and that I had som f experiment j expectation of Ballards 
delivery, vppon which or the dispaire of which I would 
resolve what shoulde be convenient. So dismissed him, 
as I remember in Smithfielde. I talked not with any other 
further then I haue declared. 

(20) Wherfore did yow move John Charnock after the 
apprehension of Ballarde for the speedie executinge of the 
distroyenge of her Maiestie, and when and where ? 

What I moued John Charnock, when and wherefore 1 
haue set downe before. 


(21) Who were those sixe that should haue ioyned with 
yow for deliueringe of the Queene of Scotts ? [On 11, 
p. 64.] 

The sixe for taking awaie the Queene were never 
named nor sounded, nor in my owne determination re- 
solued vppon. 

(22) To how tnanye and to whome did yow shew the 
Queene of Scotts lettre of answer vnto yow ? 

I know not vnto how many I shewed the Queene's lettres. 
M r Tychborne did assist in the disciphringe of them, for 
that I coulde not indure the paine. Ballard sawe the 
Copye and so did Poly. I possessed * no other. 

(23) What money haue yow spent in the prosequucion of 
these plotts, and vppon whome haue yow bestowed the same 
and howe muche seuerallie ? 

I am not able to save what money I haue spent in this 
affaire. Ballard hath had som xx 11 or xxx 11 and Sauadge 
som x 11 or lesse. The rest I never spent any thing vppon 
in regard of this action. 

(24) What aduise proceded from the Queene of Scotts 
touchinge the kindlinge offyer in Irelande, to hold the Quenes 
Maiestie busied there whitest these plotts should proceedc 
here ? 

[This does not seem based upon Babington's previous statements, but on Mary's 
original letter, xi.] 

Touching the kindlinge of some fire in Ireland, she ex- 
pressed no meanes ; only wished that it were to th'ende 
four'f attention might be distracted from that parte whence 
the stroke shoulde come, which was from Fraunce Flanders 
and Spaine. 

1 In MS. 'pressed/ 


No. 19 



[No date.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. f . 227. ' Mr Gifford ' in (5) will be George. 


(1)1 thinke that M r Tuchborne made som question of the 
Scottish [Q.] lettres, but I remember not in what manner. 

(2) I never vsed that course to aske mens lives to be 
bestowed at my disposition otherwayes, nor to no other 
then before confessed. 

(3) The Devise to destroye the Queene was doubted to 
be vnlawfull as well by Salisbury as M r Barnewell, and 
M r Tychborne made question thereof ; but Ballard and 
Savadge affirmed that there was no question, and that the 
opinion of the best of our nation on the other side was so. 

(4) That M r Salisbury, Tychborne and Barnwell had not 
persevered in this action but thorough me, I do coniecture, 
so that they very quickly disliked Ballard's discretion and 
his want of authoritie and assurance ; and whether the 
qualitie of the action or not, I can not tell. 

(5) That these had knowledge of the attempt against 
the Queene person before they talked with me of the 
invasion, I never knewe ; But the invasion they knewc, 
as I have before mentioned. The inventors of killing the 
Queene, it semeth, are those who set M r Gifford, Savadge 
and Ballard first in hand with theire entreprise. 

(6) What speache Gage had touchinge the ffrenche 
lettres, I remember not. 

(7) I deny that ever I tolde Savadge that I knewe 
Tuichener would be one of the sixe, neyther that I ever 
saide vnto Ballard any such words ; for what presumption 
I had of him was but an ordinarie coniecture, because I 
hearde him to be a forward Catholique, a valiant man 
and Ed. Abington's follower. 

(8) I am ignorant to whome Ed. Abington imparted his 


advise of the surprice of the Queene person, and what 
counseillers in such a case shoulde be taken awaye. 

(9) I remember not that ever Ballard named any noble 
man vnto me, neither that he saide there were fowre to 
assist in this entreprise. 

(10) The devise of association proposed by the Queene 
was never put in vre by me, but reiected as a thinge which 
I helde daungerous and not necessary in this case. 

No. 20 


[20 and 21 August 1586.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. f. 228. These are points which Babington had omitted in his 
account of Queen Mary's letter. He is now enticed into re-casting his recol- 

20 AUGUST 1586 

Confessed by some of the confederats J conteined in the 
Scottish Quene's Lettres omitted by Babington. 

(1) That she advised that it were necessarie an associa- 
tion shoulde be made betwene the Catholiques in respecte 
of the malice of the puritaines. [= Mary's letter, vi. b.] 

(2) That being don it shoulde be ' time for the vj gentle- 
men to worke taking order for the accomplishment ' of the 
daye for her deliuery. [=ViL] 

(3) To deale 'carefully and vigilantly' to provide all 
things * necessary for effectuating the entreprise ' in suche 

1 It is clear that this statement is fraudulent. These points are literal 
quotations from the letter, and so must have been extracted from it. 
Otherwise some prisoner must have quoted the whole letter by heart : 
whereas, in fact, when the evidence of the other prisoners besides Babington 
about the letter was gathered, the fullest version to be found was that of 
Ballard, which is short (see p. 138, below). That of Dunne and that of 
Poley are more superficial still. The reason for the imposition is clear. 
The government did not want Babington to guess that they had an in- 
tercepted copy. With Curll and Nau a different deception was used to 
obtain the same object. Introduction, p. clxxxix. 


sorte as the same woulde take good effect ' with the grace 
of god.' [=ix.] 

(4) To giue out about that the Earle of Leycester had 
som plott to returne home with the English forces he hath 
in the Low countreys and to ioyne not only with the 
puritaines in rooting out the Catholiques of this Realme, 
but also shoulde haue an intent to depriue the Queenes 
Maiestie. [=vi.] 

(5) That by his last lettres unto the Queene he did 
aduertise that one Mawde had discovered the entreprise. 
[= Letter iv., p. 46.] 

All this verie true. ANTHONIE BABINGTON. 

[This brief answer did not satisfy the examiners. The following tells its own 
story. He has been ordered to write out his own recollections of the passages, 
and does so quoting v. vi. vii. viii. ix. and his answer of 3 August, all which 
are cited very accurately. What follows is also contained in Caligula, C. ix. 
459, the readings of which are preferable.] 

The Quene's letters advised that upon returne of 
aunswere from Mendoza with assurance that all things 
requisite was in a readines, then and not before it shoulde 
be requisite to sounde the countrie ; and, to collor 1 the 
prouision and preparation, it shoulde be given out that 
what they did was not upon anie euill or disloyall dis- 
position towardes the Quene but for the iust defence of 
our bodies, lives and landes against the violence of the 
puritaines ; the principall whereof being in the Lowe 
countryes with the chief forces of the realme [under the 
E. of Leicester, he] purposed at his returne to ruin 2 not 
only the whole Catholiques, but also meant to deprive her 
Maiestie of her Crowne if she did not conforme herselfe 
wholy vnto his will, and that therefore this preparation 
was likewise for the defence of her Maiestie and her lawfull 
successors, not naminge her, under which pretence an 
association might be made. 

Which being don and all thinges in readines both within 
and without the realm, it shoulde be time for to set 3 the 
sixe gent, to worke, taking order that presently therupon 

1 Y., cover. 2 Y., remove. 3 Cal. and Y., let. 


she might be taken awaye. And because the time would 
be uncertaine, of 1 the exploit of her Maiestie's person, 
therefore she thought it convenient that there shoulde be 
fower well horsed gentlemen allwaies to attende to bringe 
worde post in the countery, and by severall wayes for 
feare of interceptinge. And further that it were good to 
cut of the ordinarie postes betwixt the Court and that place. 

She advised me to deale carefully and vigilantly for 
effectuating the entreprize, in such sorte that it might take 
good effecte by the grace of God, affirminge that she shoulde 
dye contentedly, whensoever understanding of our delivery 
out of the seruitude wherein we were holden as slaves. 

Vnto which long letter I made no other aunswere, then 
that she should understande what resolution was taken 
vpon her proposition, in the meane time that I suspected 
one Mawde (who came ouer with Ballard) had discouered 
the plot and indaungered us depely, which how I would 
repare, she shoulde understande by the next. 


Confessed afore vs, and written by him self the 21 of 
August 1586. 



No. 21 



[No date.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. ff. 229-231. In this examination Babington, true to character, 
allows his eloquence to run away with him, and does not strictly follow the 
order of questions set. Sometimes he gives the fullest scope to his easy 
credulity. Indirectly he thereby lets us see how it was that Ballard so 
easily made a victim of him. 

(1) What did move you after the apprehension of Ballard 
to hasten the resolution of Savage and to prone CharnocKs 
readines and* disposition ? And if their purposes had taken 
no effect what other hope of likclyhoode was lefte you ? 

* Y., upon. 


(2) What your opinion is touching the invasion ? whether 
any is like tofollowe uppon your apprehension and discovery ? 

(3) What your opinion is touching the k. of Scotts of his 
affection towards his mother, and his disposition to this 
estate ? 

(4) What hope you could have had to escape had you ben 
able to have gotten into your countrey. what mcanes you could 
have made to haue moved the people and how they are disposed 
in those paries ? 

(5) Whether Salisbury had conceived anie matter against 
this estate before you broke with him of it. what his deter- 
mination was and what credit and meanes he had to escape 
in his owne countrie ? 

(6) What your opinion was touching the Earle of Arundell 
whether he was privie to these actions, what meanes you had 
to procure his safetie and deliuerance upon the execution of 
this coniuration ? 

(7) What Barnwells opinion was concerning the fadletie 
of the attempt upon her maiesties person, what speeche he 
had with you after his returne from Richmond^ when he saw 
her maiestie in the grecne ? 

(1) After the apprehension of Ballard the imminent 
daunger of discovery of o r former proceedings caused that 
sodden resolution to be taken against her Ma tles person 
as a last and only refuge. I pourposed so soone as they 
had ben gone to the court for the execution of their designe 
to haue sent w 01 all possible spede into fraunce to signifie 
so much, and [to] will the forraine forces to be hastened 
in as much expedition and as great strenght as by any 
meanes they coulde, directing their landing in sondry 

The Earle of Westmerland w 111 som forces out of the low 
countries shoulde lande in the North parts, all w ch countries 
I presumed woulde be readie and forward, som part in 
regarde of the loue they beare unto his house and name, 
others in regard of religion, the comons of those partes 
in generall being catholiquely disposed, but all in generall 


in regard of the harmes susteined after the last rebellion, 
since w ch time it hath ben thought those partes haue 
thirsted for a daye of revenge. 

The rest of the forces to haue landed at Milford haven 
in Wales & at the Pile of Fowdrie in Lankashire, w ch two 
countries I held universally assured to the straungers, the 
cause of their coming considered. All those countries 
beinge either catholiques Schismatiks or malcontents, of 
all w ch we might be assured in any confusion. 

Of the West contries I made no sure accompt (though 
sondrie partes thereof had ben this yere muche disposed 
to sturre), for that there wanted heads to leade the comons, 
and portes to arriue. For w ch two things I thought to 
have moved S r John Arundell to have departed the towne 
secretly, and to haue drawen unto him S r William Curteney 
a man valiant, populer and I suspected somwhat mal- 
content affecting hono r and advauncement. Of w ch two 
if we might be assured, I woulde haue aduised that som 
of the straungers shoulde haue landed there. In which 
foure sever all places l arriving, being everie of them farr 
distant from the Court and in the verie extremities of the 
kingdome, I made accompt that, passing towards London 
and the South partes, which only remayned sure unto 
the Queene, if she escapt with life, we shoulde dayly 
encrease our forces, and cut of all such as should be holden 
contrarie unto us ; making all sure behind our backes, 
reforming the country as we shoulde passe, placinge 
Catholique magistrates to governe. 

So soon as this direction had been geven with aduise, 
accordinge to his [?Mendoza's] promise to send armour and 
weapons to foumishe fowrtie thousand of our naked men, 
and prouision of corne and wine. I purposed presently to 
haue gon into the Counties of Stafford & darbie and woseter 
to haue conferred with so many of those partes as shoulde 
haue ben necessarie for the takinge of the Queene of Scotts 
awaye, causinge them to be in redines against assurance 

1 According to Savage the proposed ports were Plymouth, Scarborough, 
and Hartlepool (Boyd, p. 612). Cf. p. 93. 



should come either of the Queeries death, or of the 
straungers their arrivall, uppon either of which I purposed 
to haue proclaymed her, and made no doubte of desired 
success, holding for certain that our nation deuided into 
three equall partes, two of them be discontented, either 
in that they desire & fayle of preferment, either for the 
enuye of others estates and aduancements, either for 
extreme want ther estates wasted and consumed & no hope 
to recouer any thing, the state standing, either for desire 
of revenge of som iniuries don unto them or their houses 
whereof they despair the state continewinge as it is. 

Or generally in regard of religion, which of all other is 
the most impatient and violent ; and universally the 
commons in regard of oppression (not so much for the 
taxes, subsides and sondry other payments to the Queene, 
whereat they neuertheles repine so farr as they dare), 
but in regard of the extreme racking of rents, the great 
fines, the enclosure of Commons and sondrie other sortes 
of extreame dealinge, wherwith they remayne in doubt, 
so farr discontented as maketh them fit for every alteration 
or chaunge. At which time they wilbe more readie to 
cut the throtes of their Lords in regard of their inhumane 
dealinge, then as heretofore to spende their lifes in their 
defence and the Queene from whome the sufferance of 
these extorsions hathe alienated their hartes. The reforma- 
tion of all which, beinge a thing verie populer, shoulde 
haue ben published as our chefe pretence, by meanes 
whereof we shoulde haue ben sure to be fellows with 
thousands, that respected little any religion at all. 

(3) I ever helde the king of Scotts wholy devoted to his 
mother, though in regarde of the daunger of his person, 
possessed by his mother's enemies, he hath pretended the 
contrarye. And I do verily beleue that religion, what- 
soeuer in him [is], to be Catholique, which I expect he will 
manifest, whensoeuer he may with securitie. I iudge his 
disposition to this state is, to holde any course to possesse 
himself of this state otherwise surely, then to serue his 
tourne. I cannot thinke he affecteth the present regi- 


ment, the courses holden towards his mother & his own 
person considered, and also in regarde of his title to the 
crowne, which in his mother the state present hath euer 
disfauoured, and therefore lesse hope they will ever 
sincerely allow it in him. 

I purposed to have sollicited the remove of his person 
from those protestants that now compasse him vnto the 
hands of Catholiques of that realme, whereof the Queene 
his mother, as your honours finde, gave hope by her 

(2) Touchinge invasion my Lordes, I do verily beleeve 
there wanted not mindes in the Christian princes, your 
honours can best iudge if there want meanes. The resolu- 
tion, no doubt, is taken, and will be put in execution, 
early or late, if the deaths of one of those great monarches 
doe not prevent it. It is holden the readie meanes to 
reforme all Christendome, this place being the fountain- 
head that f cedes all others, and therefore all their abilities 
are to be bended this waye ; by which worke the k. of 
Spaine shall quiet his Indies, and recover the rest of his 
Low countries : the protestants of Fraunce shall not be 
able to assist, and in fine uppon the good issue of the 
enterprise of this countrie the general quiet and good of 
all the kingdomes adjacent is holden and defended. 
Mendoza protested that his master had vowed upon his 
soule he woulde reforme this countrie or loose Spaine. 

The Pope hath drawn his pensions from the banished of 
all countries and diminished the revenues of all the 
seminaries and of all countries other charges whatsoever, 
to employ in the reformation of all countries faliie from 
the church, but of this especially, whereof he hath greater 
care and respect then of the rest. And when some of our 
nation, brought up in the Seminarie at Rome, came to 
kisse his hande before their departure, he inquired what 
they were, and it was aunswered they were Inglishmen 
that were to goe home to spend their blood for the reforma- 
tion of religion in preachinge and reconcilinge. He said 
they do well, it is a good worke ; and musing a little saide, 


it was a good slowe waye, but he woulde use a more spedy 
and violent, and make a passage of wood over the ditch 
that environeth it. 1 

There is no doubt amongst them of the facility of the 
conquest, if they could have landing, the extreame and 
universal discontentment of the great part of our nation 
being knowen unto them ; only her Maiestie's strength at 
sea keeps peace in the house, without which ther could [be] 
no suer pease or quiet. 

That there wilbe any invasion this yere it is not probable 
in regarde of the discoverie and prevention of our late 
practize, uppon which I suppose they presumed muche, 
without which or the like, I do holde their enterprise 
extreme difficult ; and verily beleeue they will neuer enter 
this [kingdom] without assurance of her Maiesties death, 
which by anie meanes they will endevour. They will 
procure [it] at anie price whatever. Ballard from the 
mouth of Mendosa swoore that September coulde not 
passe without an inuasion. Charles Padget confirmed as 
much, and since Gilbert Gifford confirmed the same. 2 

Though there were no correspondence on this side, only 
that the Queenes life were taken away was their chief and 
only desire, and .some one port where to arrive. But if 
all these failed, ther was no doubt of the invasion being 
a vowed resolution ; but if before the next yere was 
doubted, for that there was not in readines neither men 
nor shipping sufficient for the enterprise without the afore- 
said mean of assistance on this side. 

1 In Examination VIII. 21, he says that he forgets his authority for this 
tittle-tattle, though Mr. Abington used to tell such stories. The character 
of Sixtus was, even from early times, strangely liable to the fictitious 
adornments of romancing newsvendors. But here we have the ever-present 
element of romance exaggerated and poisoned by the visionary Ballard 
and the tempter Gifford. 

2 ' And since Gilbert Gifford confirmed the same.' Savage tells the 
same story in his confession of IT or 15 August (Boyd, 612), on the 
authority of Gilbert Gifford and of the letters of Morgan to him. He 
concludes, ' But [even] if none of the above things chance, they [the 
Spaniards] will be in England,' said Gilbert Gifford, ' before Michaelmas 
day.' On the word ' since ' see Introduction, p. cxxxv. 

I h'a 


h'ave heard l that the chefe banished of our nation of 
late being desperate of anie good from the house of Scot- 
land, by means of the captivitie of the mother, and of 
the sonne thoughe in another kinde, are in regarde of 
the daunger, which both their persons are thought to 
remaine in, as being in the hands of their enemies, and 
withall in regard of the dissimulation of the young prince 
in matter of religion, or his evil affection in religion have 
endeuored to lay the title upon the house of Spaine, 
clayming from Clarence, which shoulde be invested by the 
autoritie of the Sea apostolike, for confirmation thereof, 
and the taking away of all obiections made or to be made 
against the claime of that house, the which I have heard 
is the cause of D. Allen his long staye at Rome. 2 Which 
if it take effect, I presume presently some of our nacion, 
the most reverent unto us both for learning and 
vocation, shalbe sent ouer, 3 to enforme under confes- 

1 From Examination VIII. 22, it appears that Babington's informant 
here was Ballard, and Ballard probably heard it from Charles Paget. Neither 
of these witnesses can carry any weight, but the evidence is early. The 
discussion of the subject did not begin at Rome till after Mary's death in 
1587, and Dolman's Conference on the next Succession, which gave some 
publicity to the speculation, did not appear till 1594. It must also be 
remembered that this affair never passed beyond the region of specula- 
tion. No public claim about it was ever made ; no official negotiation, 
nor any practical steps were taken for its realisation. 

Babington has evidently no real knowledge of the subject. He alleges 
the Spaniards to claim through the house of Clarence, who was Edward ui.'s 
second son, whereas, in fact, they claimed through John of Gaunt, the 
third son ; while James claimed through Clarence. But the Spanish claim 
had the advantage of resembling the claim of the house of ' time-honoured 

Besides the Spanish Calendar, 1587 to 1603, and T. F. Knox, Letters of 
Cardinal Allen, see also The Month, May 1903. 

2 Allen had been summoned to Rome by Sixtus v. in September 1585, 
and the Pope kept him there for the rest of his life. Babington was not 
wrong in supposing that Allen remained on English Catholic business, 
but was probably mistaken in what he understood (? from Gifford) as to 
what that business was. So far as our papers go they indicate that the 
succession was not discussed at Rome till next year. 

3 ' One of the most reverend for learning and vocation.' We easily 
recognise here Gilbert Gifford's little plot of getting over his cousin, Dr. 
William Gifford, to act as a stalking horse. 


sion, 1 the chefest of our nation, such as are able to sway the 
mindes and abilities of the rest, of the disposition of the 
Pope concerning the same, and perhaps to move something 
to be don against her Maiestie's person. 2 Which if they will 
endevor with their authoritie and persuasion, declaring 
the action for lawfull, meritorious, honorable before God, 
and the only meanes to recouer the religion of our for- 
fathers, to redeeme our lifes and liberties, to exempt us 
from the imminent daunger of death wherein we hourly 
remaine, surely I fear me there will many be founde fitt 
and forward instruments to execute whatsoever [is] 
proposed. 3 

The discouery of our late practize will make the next 

1 ' To inform and move under confession.' Babington seems to have 
mistakenly thought that a priest could safely and secretly ' inform under 
confession ' about invasion and assassination. This is a fallacy. The 
secrecy of the confessional protects the penitent, not the priest. If the 
penitent in confession betrays a criminal intent, the priest cannot accuse 
him ; but if a priest should betray a criminal intent, the penitent is bound 
to charge him. 

2 In making this infamous suggestion, Babington was speaking under 
the wretched spell which the exalte Ballard and the traitor Gilbert had 
cast over him. This it was which made him oblivious of the true spirit 
of the missionary priests, and best explains Father Weston's words, ' If 
I had had an opportunity of seeing him [Babington], I should have 
abstained from so doing.' Weston's imprisonment prevented that Father 
from ever learning the truth about the plot, and he never knew Babington 's 
guilt. But this only makes his deliberate renunciation of his quondam 
friend the clearer indication of Babington's deterioration under Ballard 's 
influence. It was only the prevalence of what I have described as ' Ban 
fever ' (Introduction, p. xix.) which made the present perversity of mind 

In reality the Church has so insuperable an objection to a priest being 
connected in any way with a deed of blood, that even in the case of a 
just execution, and even if the cleric only participates by persuasives, 
he becomes, in the technical sense. ' irregular ' ex defectu lenitatis, and is 
debarred from any exercise of priestly functions until he has been absolved. 
How much more if blood be shed without the forms of law or against them, 
or with widespread scandal and offence. See The Catholic Encyclopedia 
under ' Irregularity,' and above, p. xxviii. n. 

3 It is possible that Babington, here and elsewhere, in his scaffold 
speech for instance, was consciously exaggerating, on purpose to frighten 
Elizabeth into some sort of toleration. If so, he did not perceive that 
the animus of the bigots, which he was sharpening, was much more 
effective in the long run than Elizabeth's quickly varying whims. 


better handled with more secresie and fewer conspirators 
[or] rather many sondry conspircies, to thend if one fayle, 
som other may take effect, especially without delaye in 
execution which hath bin the ouerthrow of us and ours. 1 

(6) I verily thinke the E. of Arundell was never priuie 
vnto any parte of the practise. The preservation of him 
was a thing whereof I had a special care in regarde of his 
callinge and firmnes in religion. But the meanes of his 
deliverance out of the tower coulde never be aduised 
except by the participating with many, which might over- 
throw the rest more important. 

(5) Touching Mr. Salisbury I never knewe of any practise 
that he had conceived against the state except this of late. 
I have heard him holden for a man very much beloued in 
his countrie and one of whome there is amongst them 
a vniversall great good opinion, his antecessors hauing 
ben of great livinge and chefe rulers in those partes, himself 
a comly personage, valiant, an extreme lover of his nation, 
and I thinke not the lesse affected for the displeasure, 
which it is thought he indureth for his countrie sake of 
the E. of Leicester, who is a man by report so hated there, 
as to oppose himself against him is holden sufficient to 
make any man folowed of all North Wales, the most dis- 
contented part of all this lande. 

(7) M r Barnewell returning from the Courte tolde me 
he sawe her Maiestie vppon the greene, fewe about her and 
those without weapon, that he presumed himself able to 
haue performed whatsoeuer against her person, and there- 
fore thought 2 the entreprise would be verie easie if she 
continued that custome. 

At the same time he tolde me M r Secret arie deliuered 
som lettre or other intelligence, whereat her Maiestie started 

1 .* Delay in execution ' was not the cause of Babington's overthrow, 
but Walsingham's spies. They fostered and provoked the plot at every 
stage. Elizabeth was never in danger, but Babington's life had been in 
Walsingham's power from the first. He did not even yet suspect in what 
a fool's paradise he had been living. 

a MS. sought. 


and looking about her, blamed her servants present for 
being without weapon, saying she woulde banishe those 
longe cloakes that were the cause. Other talke I do not 
remember that he had concerning that matter, which if I 
did and knew it profitable vnto the state I woulde most 
willingly manifest it. And woulde god, my lords, it laye 
in my knowledge or any other abilitie by discovery of 
daungers present or prevention of harms to com, to 
repaire in som part mine offences past. 

[The copyist here repeats answers 6, 5, 7, with a few alterations and 
verbal variations. Presumably he had got hold of a stray sheet of 
Babington's draft and copied it mechanically, without noticing that the 
information contained had been given better before. The only additional 
matter is about Salisbury. ' Neither had he medled in (this late 
practice) had it not been through me. Tantum infelicem nimium 
dilexit amicum.'] 

Thus much in answer of your Honours demands accord- 
ing to my knowledge and the short time to consider 
thereof, which, I wish to God, may be profitable to her 
Ma tle and the Commonwealth bv our lives and deaths. 

No. 22 


Yelverton, xxxi. f. 232. [No date.] 

Babington's attendance upon the Earle of Shrewsburic 
in London, 1 Auguste 27. [27 Elizabeth was 1585.] 

Returning out of Lanckeshire from the house of Mr. 
Norrice of the Peake 2 vnto my place, [whither] I went to 
accompany Philipp Draycott, my wife her elder brother, 
who had married the ladie of the late Sir Thomas Butler, 

1 Queen Mary had inquired about Lord Shrewsbury from Barnes (above, 
p. 15), and was answered by Phelippes (ibid., p. 18). 

2 For ' Peake ' the scribe should have written ' Speke ' Hall' in the parish 
of Childwall, Lanes. For the Norreys family, see Catholic Record Society, 
iv. 199. Edward and his wife, Margaret of Speke, figure in the Recusant 
lists (ibid, xviii. 173, 201). Philip Dray cote is mentioned (ibid, xviii. 303), 
as ' nuper de parochia de Chedull [Cheadle] in com. Staff, armiger.' This 
was at Michaelmas 1593. 


daughter of the said Mr. Norrice, I understoode presently 
upon my coming home that the Earl of Shrewsberie was 
by appointment to take his iorney towards London within 
few days following. Whereupon for the honour and love, 
which, aswell myself as my predecessors did ever, and 
had ever borne unto his house and name, I proposed 
myself to attend upon his Lordship, who being sett for- 
ward from home before me, my horse newly taken from 
grass, I did not reach Leicester that night, the place where 
his lordship did lye ; [but was] xii miles short ; and by 
meanes thereof I did not overtake his lordship until it 
was past Welford, where finding him I delivered the end 
and cause of my cominge, and received many thankes 
of his honour for that simple testimony of my affection 
to him and his house. 

I lefte him not vntill he came unto Otelands l where 
then this court was, having stayed there two hours or 
there abouts, which was the time of his honours staie 
with her Maiestie. I wayted [on him] to his Lodging, 
thence taking my leave, with many thanks for my trouble, 
I departed that night to kingston, thence to London, so 
home to my house in the countrie. 

No. 23 


[No date.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. f . 232. Babington's letter to Nau does not seem to be extant, but 
Nau's answer is printed above (p. 24), and again Babington's recollection of it 
will be found very accurate. 

I never writt any one lettre neither ever sent any message 
vnto Curie or to any other servaunt or attendant of the 
Queene excepting one letter vnto M r Noe her secretarie, 
the tenore of it was, I informed him of Robert Polye his 
good partes and the free accesse which he had to M r 
Secretarie that I conceyved he bare good affection vnto 

1 The palace of Oatlands was near Chertsey in N.W. Surrey. 


the Queene, and that he was in good place to do service, 
if the Queene might be assured of him, willed him to write 
his opinion and what he thought of the man. 

His aunswer was that there was great assurance given of 
M r Poley his faithfull serving of her Maiestie and his owne 
lettres had vowed asmuch, But that her experience of him 
was not such that he woulde recommende him to me to 
be trusted, hauinge neuer written vnto the Queene but 
once, vnto which letters she had returned no aunswer not 
knowing by what meanes to sende, neither whither to 
direct them, in fine willed to know my opinion. I sent my 
letter vnto him at the same time and by the same boye 
that I writte vnto the Queene by, when I proposed the 
late practize vnto her. 

I receiued his aunswer with her aunswer the last time 
that I heard from her by the serving man in the blew 
coate, which letter I aunswered not. 

But that once I neuer writt vnto him nor any other of 
her servants. 

Neither but that once in answer did I euer receyve letter 
or message from any of them nor at any time haue I 
spoken with anie one of her people, neither do I remember 
that euer I sawe any of them. 

If their honors finde other then truth in what I aflfirme, 
let them entreate me accordingly. 

No. 24 


[2 September 1586.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. ff. 233, 234. The remaining examinations are of a new class. 
They are conducted by the law officers of the Crown, who were so soon to 
prosecute Babington to the death. The bloodhounds are here endeavouring to 
find out more victims through the inflated language in which Babington had 
addressed Mary, but he maintains the accuracy of his first statements, and 
the lawyers gain nothing. Answers 12 to 17 have a character of their own ; 
they are occasioned by the stories of the hysterical Tyrrell, of whom we have 
heard in the Introduction, above, p. Ixviii. 

Thexamination of Anthony Babington Esquier before 


John Puckeringe Esq., one of her Maiesties Seriants at 
the lawe and her Maiesties attorney and Solliciter general! . 

2 Septembris. 

(1) He saith and protesteth that he never conferred 
with anie touching the actions intended, saving with the 
persons whom he hath before named, but to thintent to 
move the Scottish Queene to deale the more rouridely, & 
readily, he did write unto her that after longe considera- 
tion and conference had with so manie of the wisest 
and most trustie, as with safetie he might recommend the 
secrecie thereof unto 1 as is contained in his letter. 

(2) The reason why he did not conferre with anie other 
was for that he [ . . . ] 2 of itself sufficient ; and that if 
the Queen Maiestie were taken away, then the Scottish 
Queene was assured of all the Catholiques and Schis- 
maticks in the realme ; and therefore it had been nedeles 
to have sounded them, or to have had any conference with 
them in the matter. 

(3) He saith that he knoweth not any nobleman that 
woulde be assured in this action, either at libertie, or in 
prison or otherwise restrained, but he saith he presumed 
that the E. of Arundell would have ben a fit man to have 
ben sounded in these actions, in respect of his earnest 
affection and zeale to the catholique religion, but he never 
knewe any thinge of him. 

(4) He saith that Ballard did tell him that he had taken 
the fidelitie of sundry persons as well in the North as in 
the West parts, but named not any for ioyninge in these 
actions, but he knoweth not any other that have taken 
the fidelitie of anie persons, saving as he hath before de- 
clared, howbeit he did write so to the Scottish Queene to 
thintent to moue her to deale the more readily and willingly 
in the matter. He denieth that he did recommend any 
gentleman by name to the Scottish Queene to be Lieu- 
tenant, 3 but the effect of his letter in that point was, that 

1 These words occur in iii. of Babington's letter. Yelverton MS. 
inserts her after unto. 

2 The sense requires, 'thought what had been done was.' 

3 See Babington's letter, vi. 


he woulde afterward recommend some vnto her, and he 
saith his promise was to have sounded some for that 
service, as he hath before declared upon returne of her 

(5) He saieth he meant to have chosen ten gents, one 
of the countie of Suffolk, one [of] Darby to have delivered 
the Scottish Queene, either of them to have ben accom- 
panied with ten followers, but he never found any for that 
purpose, but Sir Thomas Gerard and Thomas Salsbury. 
But his intention was that the L. Paget shoulde haue 
returned secretly, and he also meant to have moued the 
L. Staff, in respect of his decay, and som hope to have 
been conceyved by this meanes to have been releived. 
He meant also Mr. John Dray cote, Mr. John Gifford, Mr. 
Samson Oulswick, Mr. Fowler and Mr. Wolusley in Staff, 
shire, and in darbieshire Sir Thomas Fytcherbert and the 
rest of his name, and Nicholas Langfourd in Worcestershire. 1 
M r John Talbot of Grafton and the Throckmortons and 
the L. Windsor, if by his brothers meanes he coulde be 
drawen vnto it. 

(6) And whereas in his letter to the Scottish Queene he 
subscribeth your sworne servant he denied that ever he 
was sworne vnto her, but vowed his service by that 
letter, and never before, but limited and restrained with 
his duetie and allegiance to the Queene Maiestie. 

(7) Touchinge the portes he saith that there were none 
assured saving, as Ballard sayde, Hartipole in the North, 

1 For Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn see Cath. Record Society, xxi. passim. 
Thomas, third Baron Paget, has a notice in D.N.B. Edward, twelfth 
Baron Stafford, in consequence, no doubt, of this confession, was nomi- 
nated one of the jury of peers to condemn Queen Mary; but he is men- 
tioned in 1574 as a Catholic in Cath. Rec. Soc., xiii. 90. John Draycote, 
Babington's father-in-law, of Draycote, Staffs., was a wealthy and staunch 
recusant, Cath. Rec. Soc., xviii. 301-8. John Gifford of Chillington was 
the father of Gilbert Gifford. ' Samson Oulswick ' I cannot identify, but 
take the name to be a clerical error for Sampson Erdswick of Sandon 
parish, Staffs, (ibid., xviii. 301). Mr. Fowler seems to be Bryan Fowler, 
of St. Thomas, beside Stafford (ibid., xiii. 128, 136, also xxii. 92). ' Mr. 
Wolusley in Staff. shire,' seems to be Erasmus Wolsley of Wolsley, Colwich 
parish, Staffs, (ibid., xviii. 295). ' Nicholas Langfourd in Worcestershire,' 
is Nicholas Langford of Longford in Derbyshire (ibid., xviii. 28, etc.). 



but it was meant that Plymouth in the west should haue 
ben taken, if by the meanes of S r John Arundell and S r 
William Curtney it might be compassed. And in Lanca- 
shire they meant the Pyle of fowdrey and in wales Mylfurd 
haven ; but he never resolved vpon anie speciall persons 
to haue ben emploied for the takinge of these hauens, 
but hoped of the generall disposition of the Countries in 
the generall confusion. 

(8) He saith he was never acquainted with S r William 
Curtney, but he was once at supper with him at the three 
tonnes in Newgate market, where this examinate and M r 
Tycheborne met S r William Curtney and diuers gent : 
were in his company, but knew not of their beinge there, 
but came thither by chaunce, and so by reason that M r 
Tychborne had familiar acquaintance with S r William 
Curtney they supped together, and this was since Easter 
last. He saith his intention was to haue sounded S r 
William Curtney by M r Tychborne, but he neuer moued 
M r Tychborne to deale with S r William Courtney in it, 
nor never thought good to sounde any for assisting the 
forraine forces at their landing ; but did hold, the countries 
being affected as they are, woulde have performed that 
sufficiently, her Maiestie being taken awaie. 

(9) He saith that such of the gent: aforenamed as were 
to vndertake the action against her Maiestie did vowe and 
promise to performe it, and after signification of assurance 
from the Scott: Queene this examinate meant they should 
haue received the sacrament vpon it. 

(10) He saith there was no resolution of any place 
where the forces shoulde mete, or which way they shoulde 
marche, for the same was proponed by the Scottish 
Queene, but never resolved by reason of this examinate's 
trouble. He saith and protesteth vehemently that he 
never heard of any plot or intention for destroying her 
Ma tle other then he hath before set doune. 

(11) He saith he meant to have gone himself in[to] 
Fraunce to have conferred with Mendoza, and to have 
seen assurance of that which was to be performed on 
their, part concerning the inuasion : and not prevayling in 


his suite for licence he determined to send Ballard l to 
supplie that seruice. And before his returne he thought 
it not necessarie nor conuenient to sounde any other con- 
cerning the havens, the mouing of the countries or trans- 
porting of the Scottish Queene's person. 

(12) He denieth 2 that Ballard did tell him of his 
iourney to Rome or of any sute he had there to the 
Pope, or of any doing of Ballards at Rome, nor ever heard 
that Ballard was at Rome. But Ballard did always hold 
it to be honorable, lawfull and meritorious to undertake 
the action of destroying of the Queenes Maiestie ; and 
persuaded this examinate to proceed in it, and he should 
lack nothing, that might serve in the effectuating of it. 

(13) He denieth that he did ever knowe that Ballard 
had any lodging at St. Giles, or that he was there 
with Ballard, nor ever saw David Inglebie in Ballard's 
companie. But he saith he hath ben in companie of 
Ed. Windsore and Ballard once at the Rye Tavern without 
Temple Bar, and once in Windsor's lodging at Southampton 
House, and there discoursed with him to such effect as he 
hath before declared. ' 

(14) He denieth that Ballard did ever talke of any 
doing that he had with Dr. Lewis at Millaine, or else- 
where, or that he ever heard that Ballard had been in 
Millaine. He saith that this examinate Tichborne and 
Salysbury did discourse together how the Lords of the 
Council in the Starchamber might be killed there, 3 which 

1 In point of fact Gilbert Gilford was sent (see Introduction, p. clviii.). 
But the original intention was to have sent Ballard. 

2 It is clear that 12 to 17 were occasioned by Tyrrell's hysterical con- 
fessions, for which see Introduction, iv. 3. Tyrrell had made two state- 
ments (August 30, 31) before the date of this document, 2 September. 
They are now printed in Boyd, viii. pp. 641-53. It is clear that the govern- 
ment learned all the names and events on which they now examine Babing- 
ton from those papers ; and it will be noticed that Babington always 
denies or corrects Tyrrell's statements. 

3 Tyrrell's account of ' the Star-Chamber practice ' is in Boyd, p. 651. 
The names, Dunne, Ingleby, etc., all figure in Tyrrell's list (ibid.). 

It may be asked how Tyrrell could possibly have heard of the ' Star 
Chamber Practice ' by August 30 ; and it may be suggested that he did so 
through the promptings of his examiners, Lord Burghley, Justice Young, 


was to this effect, that six or ten gentlemen, eche one 
with a pistoll, might dispatch it, every one choosing one 
of the Lords. This was only talked of thus far walking 
in Crow lane, but no resolution upon it, but propounded 
only by this exanimate. And he denieth that he had 
talke or conference touching that matter at a supper with 
any, or that seuerall, Donne, Davye Ingolby, Transome, 
Fortescue, and Tyrrell, or any of them, ever talked or 
conferred with this examinate of this attempt. And he 
saith that this proposition was moved to [sic ? by] this 
examinate the last winter. 

(15) He saith that in the last lent this examinate tooke 
his leave with Ballard at the plow without Temple Barre, 
the night before Ballard s going ; at which time there was 
in this exami nates companie Mr. Tichborne and Mr. Barn- 
well, and with Barnwell there was Anthony Tunstall, 
Maude, Donne, and one Donnington, whom this examinate 
knew not, but he remembreth not that he was at dinner 
with Ballard at the kings head in Fish street. 1 

(16) He saith he knoweth Jacques, 2 a souldier of Ireland. 
He sawe him first in Fraunce in company of Mr. Gary 
about three yeres agoe, he saw him last a little before the 
same Jacques went into Ireland, which was about the last 
terme. He saith he never talked with him of any part of 
this action. 

etc. Babington's first examination, 8 (20 August), approached the sub- 
ject nearly. Other conspirators, whose examinations are now lost, may 
have said still more. On the practice of examining one prisoner from 
the confessions of another, see Waad's Discourse, printed Cath. Rec. Soc., 
xxi. 175. 

1 This was Tyrrell's statement, Boyd, viii. p. 653. 

2 This man was afterwards more widely known as Captain Jacques, 
his real name being Jacomo Francesco, or da Franceschi. He afterwards 
served in the cosmopolitan forces of the Prince of Parma in Flanders ; 
indeed, he was himself of Flemish extraction. He was, says Dr. Jessopp 
(Letters of Henry Walpole, p. 7), ' a dangerous and violent man/ and the 
English spies constantly reported his injurious words, and malevolent, nay 
treasonable, persuasions and acts. At this time, however, he was under 
the protection of Hatton, and he seems to have got off with a year's im- 
prisonment in the Fleet. He had been named by Tyrrell (Boyd, p. 654). 


(17) He denieth that he knew Mr. Bold 1 or ever saw 
him to his knowledge. 

(18) Touching the disposition of the people in the west 
parts to stirre this summer, He saith he meant the common 
people in respect of the dearth and their discontentment. 

(19) He saith he sent no advertisement to Mendoza but 
for [sic, ? by] Gylbert Gyfford, as he hath before declared, 
but he meant to have sent Ballard with such direction as 
before. 2 

(20) The means of removing the Kinge of Scotts into the 
hands of the Catholiques he knoweth not nor ever hearde, 
but the Queene of Scotts would have aduertised of that. 

(21) He saith he remembreth not who tolde him that 
the Pope woulde make a bridge over the Ditche, and so 
make alteration of things in England. Saving that he 
hath heard Abington use some speeches to that effect. 3 

(22) He saith that he hath heard that D. Allen and 
Charles Pagett endevor to set forth [the] title for the 
Kinge of Spaine to the croune of England, 4 but he remem- 
breth not of whome he hath heard it, saving that Ballard 
as he remembreth hath tolde him of it. 

No. 25 


[8 September 1586.] 

Yelverton, xxxi. f. 235. 

The Examination of Anthony Babington Esq., before 
John Puckeringe one of her Maiesties Seriants at the lawe, 
and her Maiesties attorney, and solliciter generall, and 
Miles Sandes Esq. the viii of September, 1586. 

(1) He saith that Chideock Tichborne and he have had 

1 Mr. Bold is mentioned by Tyrrell (ibid.). Richard Bold was after- 
wards examined in this connection (Boyd, viii. p. 698 ; see also Morris, 
Troubles, ii., passim). 

2 See Examination I. 9, p. 69. 

3 See Examination V. p. 84. 

4 See Examination V. p. 85. 


some conference and speach tegether touching the taking 
of Plymouth haven and that was moved by Tichborne as 
being thought by him to be a port of verie great import- 
ance if it could be taken, but he said that ther was neuer 
any course resolved upon for the taking of it saving a 
pourpose to have drawn Sir John Arundell and Sir William 
Curtney 1 to have dealt therein, if they could have ben 
persuaded therunto, wherin it was meant that Tych- 
borne should have ben used. 

(2) He saith that he understood by Pooley, and also by 
Savadge, that Yardeley was come over, but he hath had 
no talk with Yardeley since his coming over. He saith he 
willed Savadge to enquire the cause of his coming, but this 
examinate never understood what it was, and as he 
thinketh, Savadge never spoke with him of it. 

(3) He saith also and protests earnestly upon salvation 
of his soule, that to his remembrance he never moved nor 
dealt with any touching the act against her Maiesties 
person, or the invasion of the realme, or the deliuery of 
the Scottish Queene, but with such and in such manner as 
he hath before declared. Yet he saith he must nedes 
confesse that his letters to the Scottish Queene do import 
great probabiltie to the contrary. 

1 Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, a zealous Catholic (D.N.B., ii. p. 141) 
and Cath. Rec, Soc., xiii. 90 n., which also quotes the corrections in Notes 
and Queries, nth Series, iii. 415, 491. Sir William Courtenay, ancestor 
of the present Earls of Devon, and then High Sheriff of Devon, was to all. 
appearances a zealous protestant. But the sanguine Ballard represented 
him as ready to join the invaders (Boyd, p. 612). (See 8 of the previous 


GILBERT GIPFORD'S CORRESPONDENCE. As Gilbert Gifford was a prime- 
mover in the plot, and as his movements, operations, and methods are 
still imperfectly known, all his letters at this period are naturally of 
great importance. Only nine written during the plot survive, about 
twenty-eight letters from him, and seventeen to or about him remain 
for the subsequent years. All the plot letters are printed here in full. 
The subsequent correspondence is treated briefly in an Appendix, in 
which all the correspondence is indicated, and the confessions about the 
plot are described more fully. 

Gilbert Gifford,, it will be remembered, had been educated abroad, 
and his English shows evident traces of this. That he was clever and 
intelligent in no ordinary degree will not escape the notice of the 
student ; but the signs of instability aad want of discipline are also 
but too clear. His signatures differ widely. In later letters such 
irregularities show themselves more than ever. 'The profanity of 
this letter is singular,' wrote Father Morris, p, 380, about one of 

The first letter was written to Curll when Gilbert was about to start 
on his first journey (above, pp. 1, 5) to bring back his cousin, Doctor 
William, in order to make him a stalking-horse for the ruin of Mary's 
friends. He is going, we may say, on a mission for blood, but nothing 
of the sort appears on the surface. Thomas Barnes (here called ' my 
kinsman/ possibly a deceit) has been engaged to carry letters in his 
stead ; and Gilbert is using all his arts he is mild, unctuous, chatty, in 
order to flatter Mary into feeling that all is well. The student should 
be especially critical ! Where the writer uses strong but vague terms 
like 'for very necessity,' 'I fear too true,' ' Doubt not any default in 
my substitutes ' he will do well to think more than once. The assump- 
tion now of a pro-Spanish tone, now of one against Elizabeth, is 
sufficiently notable. Mary's love of news is known, and repeatedly 
played upon. 


No. 26 

[London, 24 April 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Qiieen of Scots, xvii. n. 55. Autograph, with CurlFs interlinear 
decipher, which is here printed in italics. A summary of the principal parts 
in Boyd, viii. n. 359. 

Sir, According as before I signify ed my iournay to 
London in haste was for very necessitie, so that I could not 
stay for her Maiesties depesche. Here at my arryvall I 
receaved this packet from "[+, 1 w ch I send by Pierre Soigne 2 
to yow. I deliuered the partie the some, wherof he was 
no little glad, and I truste it will be a meanes of his greater 

Newse in these partes are not dentie. For flaunders 
the common reporte is, and I feare too trewe, that the 
Inglishe defaited vij hundred spaniardes by Graue, 3 and 
as is reported vitled the towne ; the w ch spaniardes were 
moste of them principal souldiars and capitaines. There 
goes greate troopes of souldiars from these partes thether 
dailie, albeit this queene is not yet determined to enter 
absolutlie into that course, if by anie coulor he [sic] can 
dissemble it ; allthough her Maiestie of Englande, at the 
reporte of these newse, seemed alltogether to allowe of 
my lord of leicester's proceedings, yet since she beginnethe 
to waver, many wayes dislykeing his absolute tytles, as is 
thowght wilbe changed as never approved by her t wherat 
Walsingham and his frendes are greeued, but they knowe 
howe to deale w th her humor for theire purposes. In 
Englande is greate preparation to meete Drake at his 
retorne ; who is arriued, as is constantlie reported, in 

1 This sign (as we see in MS. xvii. n. 58, bound next but two after 
this letter) means Morgan. It was sufficiently familiar at Chartley to 
need no interpretation. 

2 Pierre Soigne must mean Barnes. The ' party,' to whom Gilbert 
gave the ' sum ' of money, may well have been the brewer, otherwise 
called ' the honest man.' 

3 Graue was given back to the Spaniards a few weeks later. All the 
news tha^ follows is coloured to please Mary. 


Hispagniola. Lickwise his maiestie of Spaine preparethe 
for the same purpose. The kinge of france hathe a nauie, 
as is reported, to clenze they seaes of Englishe pirates. 

A straite leage is concluded betwixte England and 
Scotland, the yonge prince beinge pentioned by Englande 
to the some of three or foure thousande 1 by yeare. 1 
Archibald Dowglas is in Scotland, w th all instructions for 
that purpose. Imediatlie at my arriuall here were exe- 
cuted ij seminarie preestes 2 and short lie shall be banished 
greate parte of suche as are in houlte, they reste con- 
demned to perpetuall prison. M r Thomas Somerset 8 is 
latlie departed this life in Clinke after his release 
from the Towdr briefe. All partes of Christendome are, 
as it seemethe, in garboile, wherof none seemethe more 
uncertaine then this of Englande, dependinge of womenlie 
humors ; who to daie will, to morrowe no. 

Lett not her maiestie doubt any defalt in my substitutes., 
whom I will leve so instructed, that they shall content yow. 
I doubt not the reason why these packets are devyded, yow 
may understand by the Ambassador., albeit I lyke not so well 
therof. I was present when he opened them. Yow may do 
well to aduertis | + to be as briefe as he can, considering 
the wante of delyvery, I purpose the next weeke to take my 
voiage. Then I will informe |+ of all the course. "["+ in 
his last perswadeth my tarying here, but I have informed 
him of the danger & impossibilitie therof ; for that my 
frendes thought me gone, when I was last w th yow ; and I 

1 Her son's infidelity to her is mentioned by Nau (Labanoff, vii. 208) 
first among the reasons which moved Mary to agree to the Babington 
plot. But, of course, Mary knew of it from other sources as well as from 
Gilbert. The treaty of Berwick was agreed in principle July 1585. 

2 Richard Sergeant and William Thomson, both ' venerables,' were 
martyred at Tyburn, 20 April 1586. Their brief story will be found in 
Burton and Pollen, Lives of the Martyrs, ser. n, i. pp. 200, 201. There 
was no wholesale transportation of priests abroad in 1586, as there had 
been in 1585. The measure, however, was under discussion, because 
Walsingham wanted to clear the prisons in order to have room for the 
Babington conspirators (Cath. Rec. Soc., ii. 253, 272). 

3 Thomas Somerset had been arrested on suspicion, because Morgan 
had got him to forward letters (see Cath. Rec. Soc., xxi. ; also Boyd, viii.). 
The name of the place where he died cannot be read with certainty. 


have sent over my money long since, w c?l I think |+ hath 
now receaved. Therefore I will accept her maiesties leve 
the next opportunitie, thanking almightie God it hath pleased 
him to prosper by her maiesties poore servant the intelligence, 
wherin I receave no small comfort trewly. Beseechinge her 
Maiestie to accompt of me as one yealding to none in affection 
towardes her highnes, as th' effect shall shew, when [it] pleaseth 
her [to] command me. My kinsman will wryte, I thinke, 
to yow. 1 He wilbe hable to informe yow [of] the state of 
this consell, having good frendes in the courte, as yow shall 
direct him. When I shalbe in france I will imploy all my 
tyme & travell in her Maiesties service, in any course I 
shalbe directed, where I shall think me fortunal <& therefore 
happy to be imployed. Praying yourself not to spare me, 
if yow have occasion in any sorte, desyring yow knew me as 
well as good frances 2 did. From London the xxiiif h of 
Aprile. [No Signature.] 

Addressed, L. L. 
L. L. 

Endorsed, Pietro the 24 Aprile 1586. Numbered, 24. 

[? In Phelippes's hand] ' Gilbert Gifford's lettre, decifred 
by Curie.' 

Written across fols. 230 & 231 this decyphered/cumming 
from one Pietro by me/Gilbert Curll/1586. 

No. 27 


[London, 24 May ?1586.] 

R.O. Domestic Elizabeth, clxx. n. 89, Phelippes's hand, but wrongly calendared as 
1584. The fairly numerous, though small alterations (here marked by small 
stars), show that this is a draft. The placing of this piece among Gilbert's 
letters is a conjecture. It is true that Gilbert was presumably still abroad at 
this date, but, on the other hand, he was expected back daily, and would have 
to write to Morgan on his arrival. Gilbert is also spoken of by his cipher name, 
Cornellis, which we should not expect to be communicated to another spy. 

1 This probably means that Gilbert had already written a draft for 
Barnes's letter of 28 April, p. 5, above. 

2 These unctuous words perhaps refer to Francis Throckmorton. 


Still there are some lines, especially in 3, which look as if Barnes might 
have been the intended writer. But at this date he was not yet in Phelippes's 

The general purpose of the letter is plainly indicated in 4, namely, to 
induce the communicative and imprudent Morgan into the betrayal of as 
many of Mary's friends as possible. Discussion of a change from Chartley, 
3, had been not uncommon in Mary's correspondence of an earlier date, and 
it is mentioned in Mary's letter to Babington. 'The address for Scotland,' 
5, had been mentioned by Phelippes to Walsingham (though in different 
terms), 19 March 1585/1586 (Morris, p. 155, 156). Mr. Bagot is probably the 
puritan gentleman Richard Bagot, a neighbour of Chartley, and often men- 
tioned in Morris. E seems to be a cipher sign for Queen Mary ; Thomas Germin 
is an alias of Morgan ; Cornellis of Gilbert Gilford. 

24 May. (1) Fr. Emb. advertised y 1 * in case her 
shall have more dispaches to send then one man can make 
viages. I will send another who shall call him self e ' Roland.' 

(2) Tho. Germin [? Morgan] required to send answer of 
the matter concerning her service sent to Nicholas Cornellis 
him selfe w* 11 whome I will deale only hereafter by writing 

(3) I advertise [' require ' cancelled} Nicholas Cornellis 
[? Gilbert Gifford] of the delivery of the packetts by a 
messenger because I am not able to goe to R. yett my 
selfe, my presence being necessary for establishing the 
intelligence in case of her remove loked for before winter. 

(4) I crave to have a calender of soch persons* names 
as, about or in London, are servants & frendes of E * 
[? Queen of Scots], with Tho. Germin [? Morgan] his 
opinion how fare every of them * hath bene, is or may be 
vsed, to the ende y* I may take my choyse according to 
such further judgment as I may by my experience make 
of him, to deliver a letter now or then or a message. 

(5) I require the addresse for Scotland with the names 
of soch honest frendes as we may be bold to trust in y* 
[several words not legible]. Privye tokens of creditt and 
addresse for both kindes of [? papists]. Perfett instruc- 
cions of the disposition of all the great personages & others 
about the court towardes E [? Queen of Scots]. 

(6) I promise to send a calender of * SS people to Tho. 

(7) Touching M r Baggott & Phellippes. 

Endorsed, Written to Germin, &c. 


No. 28 

[? Near Chartley, 7 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. n. 37 ; Morris, p. 216; Boyd, viii. 512. 
Gilbert's autograph. No place named. Since the last letter Gilbert has been 
to Paris to see Morgan, and on his return he had regalvanised the plot into 
action (see Introduction, p. cxxxiv. ). About the 4th he went down to Chartley. 
Assumed names like 'Honest man,' 'Second messenger,' are printed in italics. 

Sire Towe principal points, wherof manie secondarlie 
were derived (as we discoursed at our last being together) 1 
were the cause of my cominge hither 2 for the triall of the 
honeste man and the discoverie of the seconded In the 
firste we have so proceeded, that the honest man is totaliter 
ours, who is towe gladde to have thus escaped with his 
xxZ, besides manie good angells, than to encurre the same 
danger. 4 He seeketh nothinge more then to winne credit 
with the Governor in this service. There was never so 
fortunate a knave, so that there cannot possiblie be anie 
thinge added to this pointe, and I thinke he is sufficiently 
charmed for 5 admittinge anie other but the firste man. 

1 ' At our last being together.' We do not know when this was, but 
perhaps only a few days back, as Gilbert will not restate the objects on 
which they had agreed. Perhaps then immediately on Gilbert's return, 
before he regalvanised the plot. 

2 ' Here.' The place is not mentioned, but the writer was within call 
of the Burton brewer, and from elsewhere we know he was near Chartley, 
and presumably lodging with ' Mr. Newport, steward to the Earl of 
Essex,' referred to by Poulet in Morris, pp. 196, 197. 

3 ' The seconde ' is below styled ' the seconde messinger ' ; and we also 
have ' the firste man.' The latter is evidently the firste intermediary with 
the brewer, the same as ' the substitute ' of Poulet's correspondence, who 
is perhaps to be identified with Mr. Hoby. The ' second messenger ' was 
Thomas Barnes. 

4 ' Encurre the same danger.' That is, the same danger as Curll, Nau, 
and the other correspondents, who now seemed sure to be imprisoned for 
life, even supposing no actual treason was proved against them. Once 
a man had been hanged on a wall opposite Mary's windows at Tutbury. 
Mary was afterwards told that he had committed suicide, but she evidently 
thought he was hanged there in ierrorem (Labanoff, vi. 152, 8 April 1585). 

5 ' Charmed for admittinge.' The sense seems to require ' from,' i.e. ' He 
is so bribed as not to admit.' 


For the seconde, at my speakinge with the honest man 
he toulde me that the seconde messinger l was gone to 
London a sennight and more before, and that his ap- 
pointmente with him was uncertaine. 

Whereof this morninge I have onelie written to sir 
Amyas, declariiige the necessitie of my retorne. The 
conclusion of my letter is, Either this partie is at London 
or no ; if not, he will not be longe in these parts, as well 
for that I have his letter, as also to ringer more packetes. 
Besides that I will leave with the honest man an earneste 
letter for his cominge up. 

If he be Allredie at London (as is probable not repairing 
to the honest man in so long a space), then it is likelie that 
I shall find him theare, coming up speedelie, whence we will 
dispose of him. His name is Barnes ; I knowe him well, 
but I thinke he bathe no chamber in London, neither were 
it expediente you leane harder of him, 2 for the case I 
toulde, for that woulde spoil all : but assure your self and 
I promise, and undertake of my credit to cutte him clean 
off from this course, and to that end I have written to z 3 
the coppie whereof you shall see at oure meetinge. I 
have no leasure but to committe you to God, this 7 of 
Julie. Youre to commande, 


Postscript, I truste you [d. cancelled] have displaied 
they armes of P ; 4 let them be daintie at the firste, let 

1 See note 3 on page 103. 

2 'Leane harder of him,' so Morris. Boyd, 'Lead hands of him.' 
Another case of Gilbert's faulty style (see also below). Gilbert is a care- 
less, hurried writer. His English is ill-formed, perhaps because of his 
foreign education. His hand straggles, his letters are shapeless and 

3 This cipher is not yet interpreted. It might mean Curll. 

4 ' Displaied they armes of P.' The writing here again is very ill- 
formed and uncertain. Morris reads ' displayed [? delayed] the journey ' ; 
Boyd, ' displayed the arms.' ' The ' and ' they ' are interchanged at pp. 
in, 114. Though I'print ' they armes/ the reading might be ' the yarmes.' 
If ' arms ' is the true reading, then the sense may be ' shown up in his true 
colours,' and P. may be Poley, of whom Phelippes was very jealous. But 
the reading is still unsatisfactory. Another case of careless writing. 


scarse one of them be scene, I woulde gladlie deliver this 
Packet to 80 x my selfe. 

Addressed, To my very lovinge frende, 

M r Thomas Philips, London. 

No. 29 


[London, 11 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xviii. 40 ; Hosack, ii. p. 602; Morris, p. 220, cited also 
in Froude. Autograph. In this important letter Gilbert is giving Walsingham 
more definite news of the plot or practice, though particulars are as yet few. 
He asks for permission to plot in Ballard's company. There are several indica- 
tions that Gilbert was not at the meeting of 5 J\me, as charged against him 
in the indictment. He alleges, in fact, that this was 'the first day' he heard 
of the practice. See p. 107, n. 4 ; see also Boyd, p. 518. 


Barnes hathe not yet appeared in aiiie of his frequented 
places, so that I thinke he came not as yet to towne. I 
knowe not whether he hathe bin with the Ambassador, 
for I dare not go thether, till suche time as I bringe the 
packet 2 with me. I am assured he shall no sooner come 
to the towne but I shall heare of him, and needes he must 
come, for I have his letters with me from & . 

I trust M r Philips will meete the said packet by the 
waie 3 and peruse it, that it neede no delaie in deliverie. 

Tuchinge the practise in hande. 4 Before my laste 

1 80, Morris reads ' you.' Boyd puts stars for the cipher. The sense 
seems to indicate that 80 should mean ' French ambassador,' but in 
Phelippes's correspondence 80 means ' Berden.' See Cath. Rec. Soc., xxi. 
p. 78 ; see also R.O. Dom. Eliz., clvii. 3. 

2 ' The packet.' This was Post n., containing Mary's letters of 2/12 

3 Phelippes picked up the packet between Shilton and Stanford. See 
his letter of 8 July, Morris, 218 ; Boyd, 514. 

4 ' The practise in hande.' Since Gifford's last letter, the plot had 
taken form. He had seen Morgan in Paris before 28 June, which was 
about the date of ' his last coming over.' Morgan then knew that Ballard 
had been sent over ' to solicit,' but how far the plot had progressed he 
could not yet have learned. 


cominge over in discourse with Morgan, I smelled some 
thinge afar of, and he toulde me that he had sent one to 
sollicite matters heare, promisinge me that in time I 
shoulde knowe all, as occasion shoulde serve, for it is 
theire custome to discover thinges by litle and litle, 
albeit they trust one never so muche. 

Now yesterdaie 1 by great inquirie, one Balart founde 
me oute, (I never was well acquainted with him) but he 
toulde me that he had saughte me greatlie, and that he 
knew my endeuoures thereughlie in behalfe of the cause, 
and that he purposed verilie to have comen to me in the 
contrey, for, said he, I thoughte you were there. 

After great intertainementes at the lengthe he bracke 
with me into greate complainte of Morgan and Charles 
Paget sainge that they promised him intelligence verie 
ofte, and that he neuer harde from them since his cominge 
ouer : herof I gaue him some reasons of theire delaie. 2 

Then he toulde me that at his cominge ouer he was 
directed to me, and that findinge me not, 3 he was in greate 
perplexitie, thankinge God that we were met together 
to be an helpe one to an other. He toulde me that he 
was on Sattardaie nighte 4 with the Ambassador, and he 
expectethe letters dailie. But, saied he, if they will not 

1 ' Yesterdaie' was Sunday, 10 July. Gilbert does not deny some pre- 
vious knowledge of Ballard, but it was clearly not intimate acquaint- 
ance. Tyrrell says that ' every gentleman called Ballard Captain 
Foscue, and every man that knew him thought,' etc., etc. He was a 
weU-known man, so well known that Gilbert could hardly fail to have 
had some acquaintance with him. Ballard had been told, apparently 
by Morgan, that Gilbert carried Mary's letters. By ' the country,' the 
neighbourhood of Chartley seems intended ; perhaps Chillington, the 
family home of the Gififords. 

When Morgan told Gilbert that ' he had sent one to solicit matters 
here,' he really told him all that had yet been done on his side (see p. 96). 

2 ' I gaue him some reasons of theire delaie.' One can easily imagine 
how our provocateur improved the occasion. He had just come from 

3 ' Directed to me, and, findinge me not.' Again strong evidence that 
Gilbert was not at the meeting of 5 June, when the plot was resolved upon. 

4 ' Sattardaie nighte ' was 9 July. 


perfurm that they promised, we will doe at the leaste oure 
partes, by which wordes I perceued that [sic ? he] thoughte 
me priuie to the course [which indeed I, cancelled]. 1 

I asked him what was to be done on our partes ; he 
replied, that I must needes obtain of 6* her hande and 
scale to allow of all that shoulde be practised for her 
behalfe ; Withoute the which, saied he, we laboure in 
vaine, and these men will not heare us. 

I answered that it was a matter of greate importance, 
and that we shoulde expecte Morgan and Paget to do it ; 
he saied the matter woulde groe longe, and that he was 
in great daunger. 

Well, saied I, in my opinion this was never obtained 
hitherto by anie man, and the grauntinge thereof will be 
harde. But what persuasions and what probabilitie of 
successe can you leaie 2 before O , wherby he [sic] maie be 
moved to graunte it. Saied he, I will vndetake within 
fortie daies to procure his [altered from her] libertie. 3 

Well, saied I, let vs thinke of it, and to-morrow I will 
answer you. So he parted oute of towne, and lefte his 
man with me for answer, which he is maruelouse erneste in. 

This Balart is the onlie man used in this practise, what- 
ever it be, which I cannot thereughlie discouer the first 
daie 4 ; but in time it will be easie, for he desirethe my 
companie and helpe therein. What youre Ho: thinke th 
good I shall answer him ; I desire to be enformed, and 

1 ' He thoughte me priuie, which indeed I ' One can hardly help 
picturing Gilbert on the point of writing ' was,' when he checked himself, 
and cancelled the too-confidential phrase. But even if he had put down 
that word, he would not have meant that he was privy to every detail, 
and much less that he was privy all along, or before starting for France, 
when as yet no details at all had been settled. 

2 ' Leaie,' i.e. lay, Morris reads ' leave.' 

3 Walsingham would at any time have understood these words as 
revealing a plot against Elizabeth's life. But now that he had read 
Babington's letter, he knew their significance by objective evidence. 

4 ' Which I cannot thereughlie discouer the first daie.' Gilbert had not 
yet heard of Babington's letter. He had been away from town when, it 
was written, and Phelippes, having taken it down to Chartley, was not at 
hand to tell the provocateur about it. 


howe far I shall ioine with him x and keepe him companie, 
which doinge it is vnpossible but I shall discouer all. 

He complained much of S r T. Tressom 2 and my Cosiiv 
Talbot, 3 for not onlie they woulde not heare him, but 
thretned to discouer him ; and, saiethe he, vnlesse we 
obtain that from O , all is but winde. 

I besiche yor Ho: so soone as the packet shall arriue, 
that it be conuoied to me by this bearer, before which 
time I cannot goe to the Ambass 

Ballart toulde me that youre Ho: had an Inklinge of 
some thinges, especiallie of the Amb. intelligence with O . 
Youre Ho: hathe some verie corrupted men aboute him, 
wherunto greate regard is to be taken. He toulde me that 
Philips was gone to Chartley for the removinge of Nawe 
and Pio. 4 

I truste youre Ho: considereth how necessarie it is to 
entertaine D. G. and Gratley. 5 For herby they be per- 
suaded that theire is no other dealinges of myne but that 
onlie, otherwise it were vnpossible but I shulde be sus- 

D. G. cominge over woulde coulor me muche, as allso I 
can knowe his whole thoughtes, and no doubte he woulde 
be greatlie emploied, so that by him I shoulde understande 

1 ' I desire to be enformed, and howe far I shall ioine with him.' Accord- 
ing to the absolutist ideas, current in Elizabeth's government, the provocateur 
might always be punished, unless he had his permit from the tyrant. 

. Gilbert is here asking for such a permit, as well as for directions as to the 
answer he is to make. But Walsingham gave no answer. It will pro- 
bably be that he left this to Phelippes, who could not do what was desired, 
because he was staying on at Chartley. Gilbert in time got nervous at 
this, and refers to his fears later as one of the causes which made him fly. 

2 Sir Thomas Tresham of Rushton, Northamptonshire, one of the 
principal Catholics of England and a constant confessor of his faith 
(D.N.B., etc.). 

3 ' My Cosin Talbot,' i.e. Mr. John Talbot of Graf ton, mentioned by 
Babington, vi., with Sir Thomas Tresham and others. 

' Pio.' Mary's chaplain, Camille Du Preau, is intended. 

5 To entertaine, D. G. and Gratley. Phelippes, on 8 July, had made 
the same request (Morris, p. 219). He had suggested that Gratley 's 
' mad book' against the Jesuits should be ' on the press.' But this was 
never done. 

Gilbert's suggestion is repeated in many of the following letters. 


all theire courses, for he can hide nothinge from me. Thus 
protesting before God that nothinge shall passe my handes 
and hearinge but youre Ho: shall soone understand it, [I] 
besiche the Almightie longe to protecte your Ho: this 
xi of Julie. Youre honor's faithfull seruante, 

G. G. 

Addressed, To the Righte Honorable S r Frauncis 
Walsingham, Knighte, Her Mat vs Principall Secretarie. 

Endorsed, 11 July 1586. From G. G. Several Aduertis. 

No. 30 


[London, 12 July 1586.] 

B.M. Harleian, 286, f. 136. Autograph. Written the day after the last letter, it 
continued the story of the intrigue. 

Ballard is still pouring out his news, his griefs, his boasts to his treacherous 
companion. He has found out a good many of Phelippes's treacheries ; and we 
can see that Gilbert is alarmed at this, and urges "Walsingham to use great 
caution. Later on we shall hear Walsingham laying the blame on Elizabeth. 


I talked this tuesdaie morninge the xij of Julie w 01 the 
greate practisioner, he is in a maruelous rage for that he 
hearethe nothinge from his compartnors. 

He vauntethe muche of greate personages ioined w% 
him in this action, w c h principallie he saiethe be scis- 
matickes. 1 I haue not yet lerned manie of theire names, 
neither dare I encrotche to muche on him, but as willinglie 
he vtterethe by occasion geeuen him in discourse, he 
namethe my 1. Buckhorste, my 1. Morley, my 1. Arrundell, 
my 1. sturton, 2 and diuers others. I knowe not whether 
he dothe it vaine gloriouslie, or whether in truthe it be so. 

1 ' Schismatics.' This name was popularly given, at this period, to 
men Catholic at heart, who, yielding to force, attended heretical service. 

2 All these persons are named, in Morgan's letters, as Mary's friends, 
though he had probably had no communication with any of them. The 
Earl of Arundel, for instance, was in the Tower. It can cause little 
wonder, then, to find them on the lips of Ballard. 


He hathe verie good intelligence of that your ho: dothe, 
in so muche that he toulde me that your ho: had my 
name, and that I had youre honors protection, wherin I 
satisfied him fullie, and he restethe verie contented. He 
toulde me againe that Philips was gone, and railed vppon 
him greatlie, sainge that he had commission to open and 
reade all letters or packets he met by the waie. Moreouer 
he saied that Philips shoolde saie these wordes, Thes 
papistes hope for a daie, but we will shewe them O 
[Q. Mary] 1 heade furthe of the windowe, as they vsed 
the Admirall of fraunce. He saied that Philips retornethe 
w%in a fortnighte, but not to continewe heare longer, 
for he is to abide at Chartley saied he. He toulde me that 
this intelligence coosethe 2 him sweetlie. Surlie it is some 
man neare to youre ho: Wherfore it is especiall garde 
to be taken of youre honr's letters, either suche as you 
wrighte, or as you receue, wherin allso greate charge is to 
be geeuen to suche as haue bin vsed in this action ; other- 
wise it is vnpossible but that shortlie all will come furthe. 
I vnderstande by this practioner that manie call his name 
and [move] it in question and that they beeliue him not. 
For certain it is, he hathe nothinge to shewe them as yet 
but wordes, which causethe men to mistruste him. 

Yea he was halfe in minde to retorne consideringe the 
slacknesse of M[organ] and P[aget] but at length he resolued 
to attende theire letters. 

He is very erneste w% me to write for O [Q. Mary] 
approbation of his actions, wherin I promised him to pre- 
sume what I coulde. 

In fine it is certaine he hathe determined no certaine 

1 The sign for Queen Mary is here, and in the last letter, a crossed bar on 
an O. In the next letter a crossed cross on an O. It is characteristic of 
Gilbert at this period to be always varying. His signature is never the 
same; in fact, every detail of diplomatique, signet, folding, etc., is unsettled. 
See also below, ' it is special guard ' for ' there is.' 

' The admiral of France,' i.e. Coligny, at the massacre of St. Barthelemy. 

2 ' Coosethe.' Though there is a verb ' to couse,' or ' cose,' from French 
causer, meaning ' to have a chat,' this will not suit the sense, which 
requires ' comforts ' or ' gratifies.' Perhaps it is a verb formed from 
' cosy,' i.e. comfortable ; but I cannot find a precedent for it. 


course, onlie he hathe felte the disposition of mens mindes, 
w c h he hathe written to M[organ] and P[aget] the answer 
wherof when he shall receue I will immediatlie informe 
youre ho: 

D. G[ifford's] cominge is most necessarie, for M[organ\ 
and P[aget] with they reste will imparte all thinges to 
him, w c h I am towe assured I shall knowe, for he can 
hide nothing from me ; wherfore the sooner he were sente 
for, the better leasure we shall haue to prouide for theire 
diulishe deisier ; and if youre ho: thinke expediente my 
selfe will goe for him. Or, if my abode heare will be 
necessarie, fearinge leste ballart shoulde seeke him selfe to 
occupie my place w*h 6< [Q. Mary] in my absence, then I 
truste youre honor will provoide for his moste speedie 
cominge, as a thinge wherof greate and vnspeakable good 
dot he depende. Thus comittinge youre ho: to Allmightie 
god this xij of Julie. Youre ho: seruante to commande, 


Endorsed, ' Secret Aduertisements ' from G. G. 

No. 31 


[London, ? 14, ? 15, ? 16 July 1586.] 

B.M. Harleian MS. 360, f. 27. The same hand appears at f. 10. 

On 9 September Walsingham wrote to ask Phelippes for 'such secret 
advertisements as you have received from Ber[den], G.G[ifford] and Cat[lyn],' 
Boyd, p. 704. During the critical days of July Phelippes had been at 
Chartley, and so Gilbert's notes to Walsingham may have been sent on to 
the decipherer there ; perhaps they went there directly (Phelippes's letter of 
19 July, Morris, p. 235, seems to contain a report of one of the notes below). 
Our paper of notes, endorsed 10 September, is clearly a consequence of 
Walsingham's letter, probably drawn up by some secretary of Walsingham's 
from the papers sent in by Phelippes. (There is also a summary of letters 
from Berden, Boyd, p. 123, but they were of an earlier date, so probably 
made on a different occasion.) Of the letters here summarised, the second, 
called B, is preserved, and will be given at No. 33. 

There seems to have been no date, signature, or address on the letters of 
Gifford, only the mark ^. This is characteristic of Gilbert in these anxious 
moments. It will be noticed in the headlines that the scribe took ' A ' as the 


indication of the writer's name, not ^. This makes one suspect that this copy 
was not revised by Phelippes. A evidently means letter 1, and B letter 2. 

As to the dates, it is clear that the letters came after the 12th, while the 
third letter was cited by Phelippes on 19 July. 

The contents of 2 Ires receaued by Ball[ard\ from M[organ] 
and communicated to this Aduertiser named A. 

In margin, A f . 

ffirst. That after his [Morgans} accustomed greeting in 
propounding of honn or and Credit, he told him that 
(Charles] P[aget] had left order w% him to open all such 
lettres as came to him, amongest w c h there had bene two 
of Ballards, to w c h he answeared thus : 

1. That he requested him & charged him straightly 
nether by himselfe nor any other directly or indirectly to 
intangle *& [Q. Mary] w^ h his proceedinges, saying, Non 
est tutum, etc. 1 

2. That it was a thing impossible to have that authoritye 
from 3* [Q. Mary] for him to dispose of men : but, said he, 
Wryte to me the names of y 6 personages & I will preferre 
them to * [Q. Mary] so y* they shall lacke no comfort 
nor hono r . 

3. That he animated him to go forward promising him 
both ayde and preferment. 

4. That he told him of 2. Jesuits Southwell & Garnet 
lately come into Engl[and]. 2 

That vppon the receapt of the Lettres aforesaid, he w% 
weeping said he was vtterly discredited, that thousands 
wold be vndone for his sake : ffor he trusting vppon 
Mendoza & C[harles] P[aget] had dealt w*h many : and 
that they sought all hono r for them selues & gave him 
but words. 

1 For the cipher sign for Mary, see last letter. Morgan had sent similar 
messages out to Mary on 24 June/4 J u ty> 2 9 June/9 July ', "to Gilbert on 
4/14 July. See Hatfield Calendar, p. 147 ; Boyd, pp. 499-501. 

2 The news about Garnet and Southwell was sent out by Morgan 
3/13 July. Walsingham had spoken to Poley in consequence about 25 
July. See Introduction, p. cliv. The Jesuits themselves soon heard of 
this. See The Month, March, 1912. 


The heddes of a conference betweene Ball[ard], 
Babington & this Aduertiser 

ffirst. That Bab[ington] after other discourse of those 
matters declared the many daungers and difficultyes 
touching a Cheefe man for a head and for authoritye in 
this Cause : for that the noblemen wold do nothing before 
they sawe some Certaintye ; & y* the rest being all equall, 
wold bring Confusion. That M[organ] sought nothing but 
hono r to him selfe, & y* he wold seeke hono r for them y l 
better deserued it. That him selfe wold go and to sollicitt 
these matters. That Babfington's] discourse tended to 
make him selfe Cheefe, wherin he was backed by Ball[ard] 
who highly Comended him. 

The answeare y* Ball[ard] returned to M[organ] is this 
in effecte. 

That his demaund is farre vnreasonable to request the 
naming of the personnags ; as also to seeke all to his 
owne hand, being but a seruant to ^ no more then they, 
&c. That they all concluded that one shold go over for 
solliciting of matters. 

Extract of another lettre 1 

In margin, B *f 

Wherin the partyes aforsaid having resolued to send 
this Aduertiser ouer, the only Chardge they shold Comitt 
vnto him by word of mouth was, ' To knowe whither the 
King of Spayne intended any thing or no ; &, at what 
tyme,' w c h he was to demaund in the name of such 
persbnags whose names & hands shold be Conveyed by 
the Amb r w% many Circumstances not fitt to be knowen 
of any man till he was saefe, w c h they promised this 
Aduertiser shold receaue w*h all expedicon. 

In margin, In other lettres of f 

That one Gage was to go ouer & to receaue his directions 
th[ere]. 2 

1 This letter B, as will be seen, will be the letter printed in full next 
page below. 

2 Robert Gage, though not one of the conspirators, was executed with 
the others, 21 September 1586 (Boyd, ix. p. 38). 



That one Barnes shold Come out of the Countrey & 
wa[s to] receaue Certaine Packets. 

That one appoynted to go ouer, shold passe vnder the 
name of Thoroughgood. 1 

Endorsements, 10 Sept. 1586,/Extract of Secret Aduert./ 
Receaued from f ./A: B: 

No. 32 


[London, ? 16 July 1586.] 

R.O. Domestic Elizabeth, cxci. n. 36. Autograph. This is letter B in the previous 
summary. No date, but it seems to have been written a few days before 
19 July, when Phelippes, then at Chartley, appears to cite it in his letter of 
that date, printed in Morris, pp. 235-236. The parts omitted in the summary, 
as we now see, were considerable, but to Walsingham they were of little 
moment at the time the summary was made. 


Since the wri tinge of my other lettere, 2 theese men have 
conferred with me, sainge that they find no man so fit 
as my selfe, consideringe my credit on the other side, my 
dealinges and knoledge in these matters, my langige and 
experience, whom better they may use and truste in this 
case, with manie persuasions. ' In so muche,' saie they, 
4 that, if you will not doe it, we muste needes saie you 
are not so carfull of the case, as you are taken to be.' 
The [they] proffer me a licence, w ch Ballart hathe this 
daie procured for him selfe, under a nother name. 3 I 

1 Phelippes, writing 19 July to Walsingham, says, ' Great mean was 
made unto me at my coming away for one Thorwgood to pass the sea, 
&c. . . . It was whispered unto me that it should be Ballard to pass 
under that feigned name. I have had an inkling, even in this country, it 
should be he or as bad a man.' 

2 The ' other lettere ' will be that containing the summary of Morgan's 
to Ballard, No. A, above. ' These men ' will mean Ballard, Babington, 
and their companions. 

3 The passport which Ballard ' this day ' procured ' under a nother 
name ' is not preserved. But from Phelippes's letter, in Morris, p. 235, 
we see that the ' other name ' was ' Thoroughgood/ as also appears in 
the previous extract. 


toulde them that I would consider of it this nighte, as so 
wightie a matter requierethe, and to morrowe woulde 
answer them. 

Nowe youre honor is to consider whether this be ex- 
pedient for me or no. Sure it is they will get some one 
or other over, by whom we can neuer come to the lighte 
of thinges so soundlie and speedelie, if I goe not. 

I vowe before God to declare to youre honor w 1 * 1 all 
speede all theire answer in generall and particular, w th 
all circumstances. 

The charge they committe unto me by worde of mouthe, 
is onlie to knowe whether the K. of Spaine intendethe anie 
thinge or not, and at what time, w ch I must demande in the 
name of suche personages, saie they, whose names and 
[? handes] shall be convoied by the Ambfassador], w 1 * 1 
manie Circumstances not fit to be knowen of anie man, 
till he be saufe, w ch they promise I shall have w th all 
expedition. In my opinion we shall so certenlie knowe 
oure enemies on this side, [and] their designmentes on the 
other, by this course, that herafter we shall be voide of 

And for more speedie sendinge to youre honor, it would 
not be amisse that I had some course directed how to 
hasten the poste ; for I will send all thinges to youre 
honor, as soone as they shall be deliuered me. This 
course will auoide all suspicion of my dealinge w th youre 

If this course please youre honor, I desier answer w* 11 
all possible speede. I will tell D. G. 1 that I slipped ouer, 
and that for so shorte a time I canot be missed, for that I 
craved leave of youre honor to goe to the countrey, w 01 
all I will see him set for owte 2 before I departe. Therfore 
suche money as shall be imparted to them by youre honor 
I woulde reqeste the deliverie of it my selfe to my uncle 
Hughe Offley, before my departure, w ch they woulde have 

1 ' D. G.' is, of course, Doctor William Gifford. 

2 ' Set for owte.' Evidently a combination, due to preoccupation, of 
' set forward/ and ' set out.' 


to morrowe nighte. 1 Thus besichinge youre honor to give 
me information herof w th all speede. 

Youre honor's seruante, 


Signet, Small, of red wax, with device of triple blossom on 
a shield. Endorsed, (1) July 1586. (2) from ^ secret 
aduerts. (3) Sc[ottish] Qfueen]. (4) B. T- 

No. 33 


[London, ? 19 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 1. Boyd gives a full summary, but mistakenly 
gives 2 August as date, and expands D. G., i.e. Dr. Gifford, into Duke of Guise. 

The last three letters before the flight are all of the same tenor, and one 
cannot tell which of the two last was the earlier. In reality the nervous- 
ness manifested on 12 July was growing steadily stronger. As has been 
explained in the Introduction, the provocateur eventually fled without obtaining 
licence, out of fear lest he should be called up as a witness against Mary, 
beloiv, p. 120, and for this he apologises in his letter of 3/13 September. 

These letters, however, profess a different sentiment. Here he never tires 
of describing his readiness to assist in capturing his former friends ; and so 
far as malice went, his words were true. 

Still there remains an obscurity which I am unable to clear up. In the 
letters of 3 August Walsingham is found to be quite surprised and vexed at 
Gilbert not being at hand. ' I marvel greatly how this humour of estranging 
himself cometh upon him ' (below, p. 132). But here, in three different letters 
to Walsingham, Gilbert not only speaks quite urgently about going abroad to 
his uncle Hugh Offley at Rouen, and to his cousin "William at Rheims, he 
also seems to have received some sort of sanction for it, and, moreover, even 
promises of a money provision. 

I can only suppose that between Walsingham, who was constantly called 
down to see the Queen at Windsor, and Phelippes, who was all this time at 
Chartley, some fault occurred in the staff work, some misunderstanding took 
place, though we do not know where. I do not think we need suppose any 
further sharp practice on either side. 

R. H. I purpose immediatlie after the receite of youre 
ho: letters to goe downe to the contrey, and withall to 

1 ' They woulde have to morrowe nighte.' ' They ' will mean Babington, 
Ballard, etc. Gilbert did, in fact, set out, so Chateauneuf says, on the 
2 1 st. But he may easily have delayed the instant departure which the 
conspirators at first desired. 



leaue suche meanes with this bearer 1 for the takinge of 
Ballart, that easlie he shall compasse it without anie 
suspicion of my parte. He toulde me this daie of his 
dealinge with Rowe concerninge youre ho: He asked my 
aduise therin. He knowethe not what to conceue. I 
toulde him that youre ho: had shewed greate coartesy 
of late to chatholikes, and that it moughte be your ho: 
mente friendelie, and so he is persuaded. But what your 
ho: will appointe concerninge the man I can execute it. 
My uncle Offley 2 is verie apte to be used in this pointe, 
but I would not haue him know D[octor] G[ifford] 3 his 
name, therefore if youre ho: onlie signifie him to deliuer 
suche money to those persons I shall name, it will be 
sufficient. I will name them by other names. I desier 
to knowe ho we youre ho: will sende for him by letter or 
otherwise, that I myselfe may wright. Thus desiringe 
youre ho: to vse me in this service tuchinge the takinge 
of anie of these practisers, according as I am reddie to 
performe, w ch I dobte not but will redounde to the service 
of my soveraigne and contentment of youre ho: to whom 
my service is auoued, Youre ho: Seruante, 

^. 4 

No. 34 


[London, 19 or 20 July 1586.] 

R.O. Mary Queen of Scots, xix. 5. 

R. H. I desire you will write by this bearer, what is 
determined concerning the money to be sent, that I may 
repare to my vncle accordinglie. Concerning their names 
in my opinion, nothing is to be sed, but that I shall directe 

1 This was probably Phelippes's boy Casey. 

2 Mr. Hugh Offley was a merchant trading with Rouen. See Addenda 
Calendar, xxix. 63. 

3 Dr. William Gifford was a professor at the English College, Rheims, 
at this time. 

4 The subscribing sign is contrived to look rather like the sign t of 
previous letters. Endorsed, Secret advertisements from G. 


their, or at the leste wise other names [? are not] to be 
used for auoidinge of suspicion ; for to conuoie the money 
I can well direct hit by supposed names. 

Ballart hath changed his opinion in goinge downe with 
me. So if your ho: liste to take him, I desire to vnder- 
stande by this bearer. Your ho: Seruante, 


English Pot Paper, no address, signet of two letters L, 
back to back. 



1586 TO 1590 

As has been explained in the Introduction, Gilbert Gifford outlived 
the other conspirators by five years, in which time he underwent 
great changes of fortune, and died in the bishop's prison at Paris. 
Under these circumstances he made certain statements which have sur- 
vived, in which he endeavoured to excuse or justify himself now to 
Walsingham, now to the Catholics. It belongs to our subject to inquire 
what light was thrown back on Mary and the Babington plot by these But in the end we shall find that little, if any, positive 
evidence transpired. Gilbert never repented or recanted, he never 
told much to his prosecutors. Of excuses, of blame for his former 
colleagues, he was prolific enough : but of Queen Mary never a word. 
Nothing was said of the dealings with Mendoza (3/13 August) : of the 
conspiracy proper only very, very little. The period falls into four 

1. THE NEW UNDERSTANDING, August to October 1586. 

CORRESPONDENCE. We have eight letters from Gilbert, all in R.O. volumes 
M.Q.S., xix. 8, 45, 46, 70, 71, 82, 118, and Dom. Eliz., cxcviii. 85. Unfor- 
tunately we have not one from Phelippes, and only two clauses in Walsingham's 
notes, M.Q.S., xix. 63 and 80. All but Dom. Eliz., cxcviii. 85, are in Boyd, viii. 

Gilbert's flight at first quite puzzled and disconcerted M r Secretary. 
' I marvel greatly how this humour of estranging of himself cometh 
upon him.' In t reality Gilbert had spoken more than once of ' going 
into the country,' but without specifying where, and he had asked to 

1 The subscribing sign is again different, having a second cross-bar, 
and a full point to the left. 


have money sent to his uncle Offley at Rouen. But Walsingham evi-> 
dently did not dream that he would have left England without getting 
his permission. It may also be that Gilbert's letters got sent on to 
Phelippes without coming into his chief's hands at all : and so Walsing- 
ham may have been quite unwarned. 

When the departure was known, a bad interpretation was put upon 
it. Walsingham not unnaturally thought that he meant to tell secrets, 
and Gilbert was eventually indicted, 7 September, as a prime-mover of 
the plot. 

We do not know the circumstances which led to this sweeping accusa- 
tion being made. It is not made good by any known manuscript 
evidence, and, on the contrary, appears to be inconsistent with Gilbert's 
letters printed above. But a different line was soon taken, and Gilbert's 
name was kept back from publicity. 

These changes agree with our documents. The earliest of these are 
letters from Gilbert written at Paris, and protesting his innocence from 
Walsingham's point of view, but we do not know what Gilbert had yet 
heard of the progress of events in England. His first dated papers 
are of 15/25 August, and crave Walsingham's favour and assure him that 
' common compagnons ' who ( have endeavoured to discredit him ' will 
be found ' but chats of parasites.' The subsequent letters speak in even 
stronger terms. 

This letter of 15/25 August may have reached London in ten days, 
that is about 26th Old Style, and so have given the occasion to Walsing- 
ham to tell Phelippes on the 28th. ' It shall now suffice to assure G.G. 
that both he and I have been greatly abused. . . . He must be content 
that we both write and speak bitterly against him.' In other words, 
Walsingham owns that Gilbert is not guilty (from Walsingham's point 
of view), but he says that he must submit to being indicted as if 
guilty. One of Gilbert's undated letters to Walsingham (xix. 8) is in 
a tone of sulky submission, which may represent his ' contentment ' 
under this treatment. 

But to Phelippes Gilbert adopted a bolder line of defence. He never 
ceases to declare (1) that he keeps absolute faith with his principals, and 
(2) that he has never failed in that faith. No threat, no dismissal, no 
rejection on Walsingham's part shall move him, and he hints that the 
Catholic side are already (though vainly) making him good offers. He 
can do much more than others, let Phelippes try him again. 

One or other of these notes seems to have reached Walsingham early 
in September, and on the 3rd we find a still more benignant phrase, ' It 
touches my poor credit, how hardly soever I am dealt withal, to see our 
friend beyond the seas comforted ' (Boyd, viii. p. 666). Unfortunately this 
is all we know on Walsingham's side right down to the end of the year, 
but it is enough to mark the turn of the tide in Gilbert's favour. 

It would seem, however, from Gilbert's letters of this period, that 
Phelippes went rather beyond his chief in defending or even justifying 
the policy of the indictment. Gilbert in reply bids him stop ioking on 


this matter, and protests with various oaths his absolute innocence. 
Phelippes in his later letters always lays it down that the subordinate 
must bear the blame for mistakes ; but it seems clear that Gilbert's 
resentment against this also made a good impression. 

Upon the whole the indictment was to Gilbert's advantage from a 
worldly point of view. It shielded him from the eyes of incurious 
observers in either camp, enabling the deceiver to pose as a martyr 
before simple souls abroad, while at home the prevalent submission to 
the Crown would always tolerate the pardon of an evident traitor, if 
the Queen's secretary wished it. 

At first Gilbert easily kept up appearances with Morgan and Paget, 
though he was closely examined by the former especially about Barnes, 
of whom Ballard and Savage appear to have spoken openly in court, and 
who was also mentioned in the examinations. But as time went on, 
and as Morgan's and Paget's share in the plot became better known, 
they became more alert and suspicious, and Grately also became inquisi- 
tive. At this moment Phelippes, probably meaning to do Gilbert a 
service, wrote him a letter, which for the moment had the opposite 
effect. Phelippes's too well known ' boy ' pressed a ciphered paper into 
the hand of Cordaillot, the French secretary and a quondam friend of 
Gilbert, just as he was starting with dispatches for Paris, Cordaillot 
became ' jealous,' and on arrival handed the letter to Gilbert openly in 
the presence of Grately, arid perhaps also of Morgan and Paget. Every 
one was on pins and needles, and Gilbert only saved himself by con- 
summate coolness. He handed the letter on to Grately, saying that he 
did not know the cipher, or the hand. Could any one read it? No. 
So for the moment the situation was saved ; ' but/ adds Gilbert in his 
next letter, e I am in great disgrace with them.' No wonder, there was 
ground for suspicion that he was still in confidential correspondence 
with the enemy. 

This adventure appears to have taken place early in September. 
Gilbert sent the cipher to Stafford, the English ambassador at Paris, 
asking him to return it to Walsingham with a note, that the addressee 
had no cipher-key wherewith to interpret it. 

In regard to the history of the plot the only passages of importance 
in these letters to Phelippes and Walsingham are Gilbert's excuses for 
his flight. 

To Walsingham he wrote 3/13 September : 

' As for my departure, your Ho: may perceive what just cause I had, 
dealing by your Ho: consent, with so impious members, practisers of the 
ruine of my dear country. I say, to deal with such treacherous, youth- 
ful companions, without any warrant or discharge, in how dangerous 
a practice ... I beseech your Ho: to know this to have been the 
only cause of my departure, as also fearing to be brought face to face 
in witness of some dealings' (M.Q.S., xix. 82, see Boyd, viii. p. 672). 

To Phelippes he wrote a little later, in December or January : 

' Know that whatsoever report be or shalbe made unto you against 



&c l [? me], either proceedeth of malice or ignorance, as in like cases of 
dealing 1 with ii parties, you know, cannot but chance, pretending as you 
know I always did by your advice. But I fear no backbiter in the world, 
so that [it] may please, <fcc, that I may come to my answer. And for 
your ii vehement suspicions, which methinks yet sound in my ears, the 
one of writing the cipher with b. [the name is given as " Morgan " in 
a parallel passage in xx. 45, Boyd ix. 222], the other of departure. The 
first was only to satisfy w. [?], which otherwise was impossible. Your 
self may prove by my letter to n., that I meant sincerely to remove Ja. 
[? Barnes]. 

' For the other [i.e. my departure] the chiefest motive, as I told you, 
was I feared to be brought for witness &c. And I feared not knowing 
the state of those men whom I dealt with. I knew they were entered 
into some great matters (I knew not what) and shortlie to be taken. I 
feared lest I [sic] mought have been suspected to have concealed that 
which I never knew, or to have been accused by them either for the 
hearing of some speech, which happily [i.e. by some chance] I had for- 
gotten, [or had] not related to his Honour. Or for malice to have been 
accused by them, or at least all the world would have condemned me 
seeing J had escaped. These and many other points being in my head 
carefully, ever after I understood of your going to c. [PChartley], after 
my voyage to 1 [ ? Paris], and withal talking to &c [ ? Ballard], whom I 
neither knew nor ever spake with in my life before that time nor his 
confederates, and then I straight acquainted him [Walsingham] with it. 

' Judge you now whether I be not innocent, and what I deserved . . ., 
and whether it imported me not to depart, if ever I meant hereafter to 
serve &c. Or had I not been mad, seeing the bountifulness of his Ho:, 
and the sweetness of service, the 1 [?] of my [?] father &c, if I would 
have undone myself to join with those men, [whom] I knew were to be 
taken and could not scape ; and that their drift was discovered. Or 
would I not have advised them to flee, if ever I had dealt with them 
otherwise than I informed ? Which I not only did not, but kept them 
together. I doubt not but his Ho: will consider of my sincere heart, 
which is now composed & sure settled to serve my &c to the confu- 
sion of all 3 (D.E., cxcviii. 85). 

To return to the position which followed the presentation of the 
letter by Cordaillot. If Gilbert was now ' in disgrace,' he did not stand 
alone. The outcry against Morgan and Paget was general as their 
participation and imprudence gradually came more and more under the 
public eye with the trials of September and October. Paget was glad 
enough to slip away from Paris for the time, and now he did not disdain 

1 The cipher sign used here and elsewhere below is something like a 
5, ~, or &, and the reader must judge of its various meanings as it appears. 
I think it means a hint to Phelippes to surmise the right name, as our 
' You know whom (or what) I mean.' I add my private interpretation 
in square brackets. 


to take Gilbert in his company. They went together to call upon the 
Duke of Guise at Chalons. Gilbert, who relates the fact, gives no dates 
or further details, except that Guise declared his grief, and promised 
to remain true to Mary's cause (Boyd, ix. 220). 

2. ORDINATION, 14 March 1587. 

CORRESPONDENCE. There area few almost illegible questions by Phelippes, M.Q.S., 
xviii. 25; Boyd, viii. 489 ; Gilbert answers them : R.O. M.Q.S., xx. 45; Boyd, 
ix. pp. 219-25. Both pieces undated. 

Gilbert did not at once return to Paris. He wanted (alas for the 
sacrilege !) to be ordained a priest, in order to keep the confidence of 
Catholics. On the other hand, he did not like to tell Phelippes this in 
writing, as it was punishable by death according to the recent Act of 
27 Elizabeth. So he says that he is ' going into Germany,' .a strange 
phrase, for which I can give no certain explanation. There were 
examples of more extreme reformers going to Germany or Switzer- 
land to prepare for the Protestant ministry ; perhaps Gilbert takes his 
simile from them. Possibly, as German was spoken in parts of Lor- 
raine, Gilbert used this phrase to disguise the fact that he was really 
going into a Guise country, Pont-a-Mousson, in order to attend the 
divinity lectures at the Jesuit University there as a preliminary to 
orders. He thought of going afterwards to Rome and trying to obtain 
a tutorship at the Sapienza (Foley H., Records, S.J., vi. 16). This he 
hoped to do through the favour of Cardinal Allen ; for Allen, it will be 
remembered, had been most forgiving after his early escapades. 

This confirms what had been noted before, that Gilbert did not await 
orders from England ; but, knowing what Walsingham would like, 
struck out lines for himself in hopes of futuz-e approval. Nor was he 

His plans for ordination proved but too effective. He was ordained 
on Saturday (14 March 1587) without being detected. He would 
presumably have obtained from Pont-a-Mousson the necessary certifi- 
cates of competence for ordination. He had, in fact, already spent 
many years in priestly education, and had been a 'repetitore' (tutor) 
in philosophy. The ordination is registered in the Douay Diaries 
(T. F. Knox), p. 214. 

We do not now know enough about the circumstances to blame the 
superiors at Rheims for allowing this. Though his early record was 
not a good one, they had no inkling of his later malpractices ; all seemed 
fair and above board. 

In secret, however, he was carrying on correspondence with Phelippes, 
in which we see the two scoundrels in their true colours. Phelippes's 
draft questions are indeed illegible in great part ; still they clearly 
contain the suggestions which Gilbert in his answer elaborates, e.g. 
Phelippes asks, 'What meane to cause Paget to come over?' i.e. how 


could he be decoyed within the reach of Walsingham's agents? Gifford 
shakes his head over this question, hut says there ' is no remedy but lex 
talionis' (i.e. assassination), and if I were assured that the Queen would 
' take it gratefully, we would have, one way or another, all the crew.' 
The suggestion is repeated on next page (Boyd, ix. 222, 223). 

I do not think we ought to take these suggestions quite seriously. 
But they give a test for the morality of Walsingham and of Phelippes, 
as well as of our provocateur. And if Gifford could propose such things 
to Elizabeth's underlings, how much more to his dupes like Savage and 
the rest. 

His suggestions about Barnes are especially significant. 

1 If you have Barnes, keep him close. If you have him not, I would you 
had him in your hands. However it be, either bring him by promise or 
fear to write to Morgan, or if you have him not feign his hand to me. 
His name was Pietro Maria. Write by the name of Pietro Maria, 
discoursing of the whole success, and yet as chance was your name never 
came in question, and now is time to begin again, which they desire 
beyond measure and no doubt they will take hold of it, for they are 
about another practice, I assure you ' (M.Q.S., xx. 45 ; Boyd, ix. p. 220). 

This is ' provocation ' pure and simple, to be procured if necessary by 
forging Barnes's name. Eventually Phelippes got hold of Barnes, and 
acted on Gifford's suggestion until the end of Elizabeth's reign (see 
above, pp. 2-5). Moreover, Phelippes took Gifford's alternative hint 
and wrote a letter in Barnes's name. But, when it came, Gilbert had 
changed his mind, and declared that Morgan probably had a letter of 
Barnes's, so that he dared not present Phelippes's forgery. It was so 
unlike the real thing. 

Gilbert's letter, which is very long, may be considered as his apologia 
from the point of view of the government. It travels over all the 
points on which suspicion might arise in the minds of Elizabeth and 
Walsingham, which he did doubtless at Phelippes's suggestion. Gilbert's 
line is to say that his intentions were always admirable, but he was 
' forced ' to talk treason with the traitors, and so there are things which 
he does not defend. e Look not for a mathematical satisfaction at my 
hands.' Sometimes he had e to beguile' Morgan, and Phelippes must 
' interpret ' all his doings for the best. 

3. SPY LIFE IN PARIS, 11/21 April to 3/13 December 1587. 

CORRESPONDENCE. The pieces are almost all in R.O.' Domestic Elizabeth. From 
Gifford, March, cxcix. 20 ; April, cc. 48, 49, 50, 65 ; May, cci. 42 ; October, 
Addenda MS., xxx. 55, vi. vii. From Phelippes, April, cxcix. 96; June, ccii. 
38 ; September, cciii. 36. 

With this letter in hand Phelippes was satisfied, and succeeded in 
pleasing both Walsingham and Elizabeth. It is remarkable that she 
should have been interested in Gilbert's fortunes. But Phelippes says so, 


and in such a matter he would not have knowingly exaggerated. The 
' minute' of his note (D.E., cxcix. 96) informs Gifford that l Her 
Majesty has promised you 100 li. pension by the year for your service.' 
This pension, continues Phelippes, together with your father's allow- 
ance, will royally maintain you. The advice I gave you * to be a good 
husband grew from a friend upon complaints in a former letter that 
you were bare.' Finally he was to become a spy and informer, and was 
to write to Walsingham, to Phelippes, and also on selected topics for 
the Queen's own eye. This letter would have been written about 
15 April, and when it reached Gilbert he had been in Paris since 
the 21st. 

On its receipt Gifford was quite carried off his legs with delight. 
Being unable at first to distinguish what would please the English 
Queen, he sent a e rhapsody ' of everything he could think of, with offers 
of murder, kidnapping, and thievery. (1, 7, or 10 May, the original is 
D.E., cc. 48; a selection from it by Phelippes is in Harleian MS. 290, 
printed by Boyd, p. 411. See also below, p. 174.) 

What Phelippes selected from this for the Queen, we do not know. 
None of Gilbert's letters at this period seem to be so clever as those 
which were intended to deceive Mary, but only few are preserved. 

There was a reason too for his want of news, as the execution of Mary 
had robbed the English Catholics of all romance and almost all hope of 
liberty, except through Spain, which was distant, slow, inactive. On 
25 May Gilbert writes that the best thing to do would be to get 
some spy established near the Prince of Parma, Philip n.'s commander- 
in-chief, while he rather quaintly promises ' neither will I let anything 
pass so sliberly as heretofore/ Phelippe's in his emended edition writes 
the word ( slipperly.' 

If this refers to others, the sense will be disparaging, and ( sliberly ' 
may be akin to ' slipshod ' : if, however, it refers to himself, the mean- 
ing will be laudatory, and the word will mean ' deftly,' as Dutch 
1 slim.' 

After this there are only letters to him from Phelippes in June and 
September. From the last of these we learn that our spy has found a 
lodging in the same house as Morgan. Phelippes suggests that, if 
Morgan wants to go to Rome, Gilbert might offer to be his corre- 
spondent at Paris. But in the meantime he is to be very much indeed 
upon his guard against the ruse Welshman, and he is always to keep 
his cipher key sewn up in his doublet. For the present Gilbert should 
employ himself in unravelling the case of Roger Walton, whom Sir 
Edward Stafford, the English ambassador at Paris, had commended, but 
whom Walsingham had clapped into prison on his arrival (D.E., 
cciii. 36). 

This reminds one of the commissions Gilbert used to receive to test 
' the honest man ' and other instruments. But now the result of the 
trial verified the proverb, ' set a thief to catch a thief, and you have 
them both. ' The rival sharper against whom Gilbert Gifford was now 


pitted by Phelippes was Lilly alias Mr. Ambodester, who stood to the 
ambassador in much the same relation as Phelippes did to Walsingham. 

Of course, it was a gross fault against etiquette for Phelippes to set 
Gilbert to spy on Lilly and by consequence on Stafford himself. 

Hitherto Lilly had been., or had affected to be, the friend of Gilbert ; 
but when he perceived the change of part, he got in his blow, which 
proved fatal, before his adversary could strike. We do not know the 
details, but there is a letter in the Addenda series (Calendar, p. 259; 
Morris, p. 385), dated 9 December 1588, written by Henry Caesar, who, 
though a Catholic priest in exile, had gone over to the Protestant side, and 
was in sympathy with Gifford, so far as he understood his case. We 
have also a letter, in GifFord's own hand, which affords Lilly's side much 
justification. It is dated 26 October, printed (so far as it is legible) in 
Addenda Calendar, p. 230, the original is MS. Addenda, xxx. 55, vii. 
In this Gilbert appears to be charging Sir Edward with having sent 
Lilly to tempt Gilbert to assassinate the Queen. 

A reader not used to judging spy-correspondence will be puzzled. So 
grave a charge, he would imagine, would not be brought without some 
good ground, and yet the idea of one of our ambassadors soliciting by 
his servant the assassination of his sovereign seems too wildly improbable 
for credence. In those days, however, when Elizabeth and her ministers 
were always fussing about alarms of this nature, they obtained any 
number of them. Spies knew by experience how highly such stories 
were welcomed. The inference is that Gilbert was preparing for some 
grand coup against his rivals. Unfortunately for him, however, his 
letter found its way into Lilly's hands, and even if it had stood alone it 
would have explained all that follows. 

But there was much more. Gifford was spending his time in writing 
an answer to Allen's Defence of Stanley for the rendering up of Deventer, 1 
and when finished gave it to Lilly to send to England. Caesar, who tells 
us this, adds that Lilly gave it to Sir Charles Arundell instead, the most 
zealous of the Catholic party then in Paris. Lilly also procured from 
Phelippes for Sir Charles the book, which Gifford and Grately together 
had written against the Jesuits. 

It is doubtful, however, whether Lilly would have obtained his object 
by any of these means, if Gifford had not been arrested one night 
(13 December) in a brothel. He was at first taken to the Bastille, and 
when it was known that he was a priest, he was transferred (19 December) 
to the Bishop's prison, where he lay till his death. 

NOTE. Too much stress must not be laid on Gifford's charge against 
Stafford of solicitation. The text is obscure, though Stafford would 

1 It is not impossible that a fragment of this may survive in an extract 
made by Fr. Chr. Grene, printed in the Letters of Cardinal Allen, ed. Knox, 
pp. 299-301. The date, 23 October, would agree. 


certainly have read it in the worst sense. The critical passage in 
Gifford's letter runs as follows : 

' || (The Amb.) by 5927 (Lilly) exhorted greatly H (? the present writer) 
to u (? kill) 8 (the Queen of England) with great promises. X (Gifford) 
answered that he would never offend her.' 

1. The ciphers are not facsimiles, but roughly represent their shapes. 

2. Phelippes's decipherment of u is very obscure ; he has none of H ; 

but the rest are clear. 

3. It is strange that this document, which is supposed to have been 

sent by Stafford to Walsingham against Phelippes, should have 
decipherments in Phelippes's hand. 

4. Of course the whole document might be a forgery by Lilly against 


5. As the evidence now stands, Stafford sent in the document, and 

says he was furnished with the key to read it. No doubt there- 
fore that (though he treats the insult as unmentionable), he 
knew it well, and took it in the worst sense. 

4. IN PRISON, 3/13 December 1587 to [? November] 1591. 

CORRESPONDENCE, The pieces are again mostly in Domestic Elizabeth. From 
Gifford [? December 1587], ccviii. 90 ; January 1588, ccviii. 4, 5, 11, 20, 21 ; 
February, ccviii. 48, 57, Addenda MS., xxx. 78; July, ccxii. 54; August, 
Hatfield Calendar, iii. 346 ; September, ccxv. 69 [? 1588] ; ccxvii. 81 ; December, 
ccxix. 13. From Phelippes, ccviii. 54 ; July, ccxii. 72. 

All Gilbert's papers were now seized, including his alphabet, which 
he was using in order to write to Phelippes. One or two earlier letters 
had been intercepted before : Paget and Morgan knew that he had pro- 
posed to kidnap or murder them, and the Ambassador was infuriated at 
seeing that Gifford had probably charged him with plotting against the 
Queen's life, and that Phelippes had certainly employed such a ' double 
treble villain' to watch him. He wrote : 

' His confession (for I see he will confess anything that is, and more 
than is) may give subject to the enemies of her Majesty to procure a 
scandalous opinion to be conceived of her and of her Council. For they 
mean to turn a letter or two, but especially one of Phelippes to him to 
prove that he was the setter on of the gentlemen, that were executed 
for that enterprise of the Queen of Scots, and then to discover them. 
Also that he was practised to this by you and Phelippes, and withal they 
would fain have it, with her Majesty's knowledge. . . . 

' He hath showed himself the most notable double treble villain that 
ever lived, for he hath played upon all the hands in the world. I have 
sent you the copy of his answers, whereby you may see how vilely he 
dealt with me,' etc. etc. (Addenda Calendar, p. 233). 

The letter of his to Phelippes ' proving that he was the setter on of 
the gentlemen that were executed for the enterprise of the Queen of 


Scots ' is not iii our hands. Later on Stafford alludes to it again as 
'dated 11 June 1586' (Addenda Calendar, p. 227). This date agrees 
exactly with the time Gilbert was starting for Paris, after the first con- 
ferences of the conspirators. No definite plans had as yet been formed., 
and Gilbert was not then (it would seem) familiar with all the con- 
spirators. But the connection had begun, and according to the indictment 
Gilbert was then in the very thick of the conspiracy. 

Four letters of Stafford, printed in the Addenda Calendar, give some 
account of the first proceedings against Gifford. Then in the absence 
of English church authorities who could prosecute, the papal nuncio, 
Mgr. Moresino, Bishop of Brescia, called the case before his tribunal. 
Lord Paget stood as his accuser; Thomas Fitzherbert and Thomas 
Throckmorton had their places in the court. But the incriminating 
evidence was not very conclusive. There were some cipher letters, but 
Gilbert would not, perhaps could not explain them. Curll and Nau had 
been freed from prison in England, but nothing very conclusive could 
be drawn from them. They had no conception how the plot was really 
discovered, and had been told in England that the actually fatal papers 
had been seized on the persons of the conspirators. They never realised 
that they had been read, while in the custody of Gilbert Gifford. Curll, 
while in England at least, remained under the impression that Gilbert 
had been a trusty servant of Mary, and with touching fidelity, kept 
Gilbert's name out of all his confessions. Phelippes noticed this, and 
gave Gifford word of his security on this side (R.O. Dom. Eliz. cxcix. 
n. 96, f. 218). Morgan and Charles Paget knew little or nothing of what 
had happened in England, and what they knew about the intrigue in 
France made them tongue-tied. The same thing may be said of 
Mendoza. It does not seem to have been known in Paris that Gifford 
had been indicted in the English courts ; for (as has been explained in the 
Introduction) Gifford's name was carefully kept out of all the published 
accounts of the trial. 

For these reasons the evidence against Gilbert could hardly justify 
a strong verdict against him, so far as the treason against Mary was 
concerned, however vehement the suspicions might be. It seems to have 
been known beforehand that this would happen : for the letter from 
Rome, 18 February 1588, giving directions to the nuncio for the trial, 
adds that ' efforts should be made to keep Gifford in prison ' (Vatican 
Archives Let. di Principi, cli. f. 108). 

On 14 March, Mgr. Moresino sent in his report on the trial, 
viz. that nothing material could be found against the accused except 
ciphers, which no one could read. But now a Jesuit father has per- 
suaded him to confess, and he promises to reveal all (R.O. Roman 
Transcripts, Bliss, bundle 83). We hear nothing of the verdict; and if 
Gilbert was still kept in captivity, it will have been partly on suspicion, 
partly on other charges, as the libel on the Jesuits, and the arrest in 
the house of ill-fame, partly because his promised confession was slow 
in coming. 


We have heard Stafford say., 'I see he will confess anything.' But 
this did not prove true. He did indeed make so-called confessions, but 
these were in fact charges against others. 

The first of Gifford's extant confessions was addressed, says Stafford,, to 
Throckmorton, but more probably to his procureur, Thomas Fitzherbert, 
perhaps in January 1588. He begins by saying that his employment 
commenced with Cardinal Allen's full approval. Allen was really at 
Rome, when Gilbert was asked for by Moi-gan. Still it may be true 
that Allen allowed Morgan the service of some of his young men from 
time to time, and that the college authorities in Allen's absence con- 
tinued his policy and let him go. Gilbert represents this as an appro- 
bation of his dealing with English officials in hope of some little allevia- 
tions in good time. 

Then he goes on to speak of his second visit to England in June- 
July 1586, during which he says he became so frightened by the rage of 
the persecution, that he fled back to France. The conspiracy was 
discovered immediately after, and Savage (quite unjustly of course) then 
accused him of having helped the conspiracy. Thereupon Gilbert's 
father became endangered, and it was to save his father that he had 
to go on corresponding with the persecutors, which correspondence 
had now been discovered, etc., etc. (R.O. Addenda \MS. 9 vol xxx. 
no. 78). 

So long as the prosecution had not evidence sufficient to analyse and 
expose excuses and misstatements such as the above, it was clear that 
our miscreant could never be convicted by oi'dinary legal proceedings. 
A note from him, dated 8/18 February, is extant, in which he tells 
Phelippes that he ' expects to be freed daily.' But we have also a note 
from Charles Paget written two days later, in which he says, ' Gifford 
remaineth where he did, and is like to do so a good while for anything 

1 know. He deserveth to have lost his life, and if he were in 
Rome or Spaine, I am sure he should' (R.O. Dom. Eliz., ccviii. 
nn. 57, 63, February, 1588). 

The second and third confessions have perished. We hear that on 

2 and 25 April Gilbert wrote to Allen and to Father Persons. 
But Father Christopher Grene, who has mentioned this fact among the 
notes he prepared for Bartoli's Inghilterra, gives no further details, 
except that, in the apologia to Persons, some description was given of 
the book against the Society. 

The fourth confession was on 14 August, 1588, and a complete copy 
of it is preserved among the Hatfield MSS. (printed in the Hatfield 
Calendar, iii. 346). Father Grene gives the date and a short abstract 
which confirms but adds nothing to the Hatfield document. In sub- 
stance, the whole paper is an accusation of Morgan, and it charges him 
with responsibility for many details not mentioned elsewhere. 

There does not appear to be any reason for doubting its general 
tenor, and one sentence is especially important. For there, contrary 
to his own interests, Gilbert lets out, what he nowhere else admits, that 


he was the chief provocateur of the conspiracy. This passage is quoted 
in its proper place in the Introduction, p. cxx. 

The last extant confession is in French, dated 10 December 1588. 
Like the preceding, it is mainly an indictment of Morgan, and gives no 
details about the entrapping of Mary. Phelippes, to whom Gilbert had 
managed to send a copy, endorsed it 'G. Gifford, confession to the 
knaves on the other side,' a pregnant phrase indicating Phelippes's 
contempt for law and veracity (Dom. Eliz., ccxix. 13). 

Next we should cite a report by Phelippes's own servant Casey, which 
was sent in by ' Cousin Barnes,' and is dated conjecturally the end of 
September 1588. 

e He of Bishops Gate Street (i.e. the French ambassador, see Add. 
Cat., xxx. p. 200) has been carefully sounded by me about Gylbert 
Gifford. Also your man Casey in his drink (but there is often in vino 
veritas) he told me thus much of my cousin Gylbert that he was first 
the practicioner with the gentlemen executed, and after the discoverer 
&c. That he was indicted here, and priested there colourably. And 
lastly, that as yet, whether in prison or delivered over to D. Darbishire, 
the Jesuit (as some say) doth deale still underhand, and is an intelli- 
gencer for this state' (R.O. Dom. Eliz., ccxvi. n. 53). 

It will be seen from this that though Gifford's secret was in one way 
well kept, in another the truth was not unknown in general terms. 
Though no authentic document against him became public, Stafford 
and Paget were talking of the facts in Paris, and Casey in London. In 
Antwerp too the news was known, for the report which Morris quotes 
from the Stonyhurst MSS., is really by Verstegan, who lived there (Sir 
A. Poulet, pp. 386-8, from MS. Anglia, i. n. 70; see also Paget's letter 
of 31 January/10 February 1588, R.O. Dom. Eliz., ccviii. n. 39). 

' Gilbert Gifford doth still deal underhand, and is an intelligencer for 
this state,' said Casey, and so in truth he was. Ten letters of this period 
survive, and show that, so long at least as we can watch him, this per- 
versity of will continued. His ambition is to deceive, to mislead, to 
betray, and he died as he lived. Some of the contrasts in his letters 
are not unamusing. On 16 July (Dom. Eliz., ccxii. n. 54), we find 
a letter very different from his ordinary style. He praises Staf- 
ford and Lilly, regrets that he has not been able to write since his 
imprisonment, and ends with the pious wish that England may make 
peace with Spain before the Armada sails. But on the margins he has 
scribbled in invisible ink, that all this was written while his enemies 
were at his shoulder, and that they were letting him write to see what 
Phelippes would answer. In reality, of course, Lilly was an arch rascal, 
and Walton, whom Stafford had commended, was a suspicious character, 
&c., &c. 

Phelippes has also preserved a few of his own ' minutes' or drafts. They 
are very much corrected, very hard to read, and show us a character 
even more repulsive than that of Gifford, more cynical, more hypo- 
critical, a stronger hater. The most remarkable perhaps is that of 



20/30 July, which possibly answers Gilbert's of the 6/16th. He here 
reappoints him to his old trade of news-writer, and again he grossly 
exceeds in his confidences towards so unreliable a person. 

He tells him, for instance, that Lord Burghley had been compromised 
in his proceedings against Mary, by his partiality towards her. Not 
only was this false, but the false impression was due to Phelippes him- 
self in great measure. It is true that Burghley was not quite so bitter 
a hater as Walsingham ; but a mortal enemy for all that, who took the 
lead in all the proceedings for Mary's death. The indiscreet Morgan 
having, in his exaggerated letters to Mary, overstated Burghley's con- 
siderateness, Phelippes by his deciphers had brought this to Walsing- 
ham's knowledge, perhaps also to Elizabeth's. And here we find this 
' customs-collector ' repeating the gross indiscretions which he made in 
setting Gifford to inform upon Stafford, only here the quiet hint is 
given in regard to the first minister of the crown. It must be remem- 
bered, however, that this 'minute' was not necessarily followed in the 
dispatch ; indeed, it is lightly scored through, in such a way that might 
mean either ' Done,' or ' Omitted.' 

In any case, however, it is truly remarkable that Phelippes should 
again appoint GifFord his correspondent, while still fast in prison. 
Walsingham, and probably Elizabeth too, must have liked either his 
manner, or his matter. But no later news-letters survive to justify or 
condemn their choice. In December 1588 we hear from Gerard GifFord 
(a brother whom Phelippes employed as an intermediary) that the 
decipherer intended to drop Gilbert altogether. What that exactly 
meant we cannot tell. There is still a letter from Bacot, Gilbert's 
former servant in Paris, saying that with money something might be 
done (Addenda Calendar, p. 279, ? August 1589). 

Then the Wars of Religion broke out again in France, and Paris was 
beleaguered by Huguenot-Loyalist forces. We can easily imagine that 
a poor prisoner had a good deal to bear at such a crisis. Next a sen- 
tence is found in a note from Sir Francis Englefield, saying that Gilbert 
had been importunate to have his case re-opened amid such untoward 
circumstances (3 Feb. 1590, Addenda Calendar, p. 297). Finally a 
casual announcement in a letter from Henry Walpole, S.J., dated 29 
November 1591, tells us that, 'Gilbert Gifford is dead in prison in 
Paris' (Augustus Jessopp, Letters of Father H. Walpole, S.J., 1873, 
p. 23). 



No. 35 

[? Richmond, 2 August 1586.] 

B.M. Cottonian, Appendix L, 140, ff. 140, 144, 141, 143. These letters appear to 
have slipped out from Caligula, G. ix. In them we see Walsingham in the act 
of pulling down the nets on the conspirators and nervously excited during 
those critical moments. At every hitch he is agitated, and complains about 
matters, like the postscript, the responsibility for which he here inadvertently 
admits. There are three letters on 3 August. 

The enclosed I receyved this [MS. perished] S r Amias 
Pavlet. Yt is more carelesly made up then others y* 
heretofor have passed my hands. Whether yt be don 
De industria or no, I knowe not. 1 So soone as you shall 
have decyphred the letter, so earnestly looked for by her 
ma** 6 , 2 I praye you bryng yt w to you [erasure ; ? safely 
down] for y* I thinke meet you shoold delyver yt your 

I dyrected ffra. Mylls to confer w* you abowt the 
appryehensyon of Bal[lard], w ch I wyshe now execvted 
owt of hande, vnless you shall see cavse vppon the de- 
cyphrye of the letter to the contrarye. Yt shall be meet 

1 For the ' make up ' of the packets see Introduction, p. Iviii. 

2 The ' letter so earnestly looked for by her Majesty ' would be either 
Mary to Mendoza in Post in., which did not come out till 7 August, or 
it might also be Babington's answer, and this seems certainly to be the 
letter alluded to four lines lower down. 



also to apprehend Bab[ington] and sooche as are noted 
to be his famylyars. Sorry I am that G. G[ifford] is 
absent. I mervayle greatly howe this hvmor of estrayng- 
yng of him selve commethe vppon him. 

I praye you thinke [? of a] man to apprehende 
Bab[ington] and consyder also of the manner. 

I meane bothe he and Bal[lard] shall be kept in my 
howse vrityll they shall be thorrowghely examyned. 

I hope you have thowght on the articles I that are to 
be ministred vnto them bothe, as also cavsed Barden to 
set downe the names of the pryncypall practysers as well 
Clergye men as temporall. 2 I woold be glad to vnder- 
stand whoe doe accompagnye s r G. Peckham 3 for I take 
him to be a great practycor and his compagnyon s r Tho: 
Gerard. And so I comyt you to god ; in hast at the 
coorte the second of Avgvst 1586. 

Y r Loveng frend, 


No. 36 

[? Richmond, 3 August 1586.] 

The order of the following letters is decided, firstly, by the allusions to Poley. In 
the first two letters he is expected, in the third he has called. Secondly, the 
directions given in No. 36, about the apprehension of Ballard, are approved 
in No. 37, and this settles their order. 

S r at the Causting vp . . . [MS. perished ? of accounts] 
.... I am sorry the event favlethe [owt so] yll. I dowbt 

1 The articles drawn up by Phelippes for Ballard are extant. See 
Boyd, viii. pp. 591, 592 ; cf. p. 510. 

2 Nicholas Berden, previously, and perhaps truly, known as Thomas 
Rogers, see Introduction, p. xl. Twenty-six of his informations will be 
found (partly in extenso, partly in abstract) in Cath. Rec. Soc., xxi. pp. 
66-73, with a commentary. Similarly his proposals for dealing with 
Catholic prisoners are printed (ibid., ii. 253, 272-276). As Walsingham 
seems to think that he has already set down ' the names of the principal 
practysers, as well Clergymen as Temporal/ this paper very probably did, 
and possibly does still exist, though I am not able to point it out. 

3 For Sir Geo. Peckham of Denham (see Introduction, p. Ixviii. n.). He 


greatly her ma** 6 hathe not vsed the matter w* that 
secreacye that apperteynethe. The cyrcomestavnces 
shewethe y* he is departed vppon somme dowbt of 
apprehensyon. I feare he hathe come to some knowledg 
by Dunne. I have dyspatched a letter vnto S r Amias 
Pavlet and have acquaynted him w* Bab[ington's] de- 
partvre and desyered him to geve somme secreat order 
for his apprehensyon. But I dowbt he wyll not repayre 
in thos partes. Towching your going downe I thinke yt 
not necessarye. Owre wave wyll be to dyscover here 
what is the cavse of his deparetvre, wherin great secreacye 
woold be vsed. I looke for Pooley from whom I hope to 
receyve some lyght. Ballarde woold be taken, but w* 
no other coorse of proceading then w l an ordenarye 
lesveste ; accordingly as I have dyrected ffra: my 11s, w* 
whome you may confer, whoe is most secreat and he 
. . . [MS. perished] . . . You wyll not beleve ho we myche 
I am greved w* the event of this cavse. I feare the 
addytyon of the postscrypt hathe bread the ielousie. 
And so prayeing god to send vs better svccesse then I 
looke for, I comyt you to his protectyon. At the coorte 
the 3 of this present 1586. 

Y r Loveng frend, 


I praye you learne of M r . H. Ofeley what is become of 
G. G., whos streyng manner of w*drawing him selve I 
knowe not whatt to thinke of. Let the messenger repayre 
this daye to Bab[ington] to sollycyt awntswer. 

and Sir Thomas Gerard were no conspirators. Peckham died almost im- 
mediately after this, but Gerard remained a prisoner in the Tower until 
he was persuaded to bear evidence against the Earl of Arundel (Cath. Rec. 
Soc., xxi., passim). 


No. 37 

[Richmond, 3 August 1586.] 

. . . [MS. injured] . . . your Latten lettre . . . comforted 
me. I thinke [yf your] messenger receyve not awntswer 
this daye at Bab[ington's] handes, then were yt not good 
to dyffer the apprehension of him, least he shoold escape, 
yf you hope by geving of tyme [erasure] that an awntswere 
wyll be drawen from him : then wyshe I the staye. yt 
may be y* the dyfferring of the awntswere. proceadethe 
vppon coference, w c h yf yt be so, then were yt a great 
hyndravnce of the servyce to procead over hastely to the 
arrest. Thes cavses are svbiect to so many dyfficvltyes 
as yt is a hard matter to resolve. Only this I conclvde yt 
were better to lacke the awntswer then to lacke the man. 
I doe not meane to speake w* him for many cavses. And 
therefor yf pooley repayre hether I wyll pvtt off the 
meetyng vntyll saterdaye, to the ende he may in the mean 
tyme be apprehended. I lyke well that Bal[lard] shoold 
be apprehended in sooche sorte as is agreed on. . . . 
[MS. injured] have dyspatched . . . S r Amyas to ... 
then of the former dyrections. 

I mean to acquaynt her ma^ 6 w* the contents of youre 
letters. In the mean tyme I woold the messenger you 
vsed myght be dyrected to sollycyt awntswere, vnles you 
shall see some cavse to the contrarye. And so in hast I 
commyt you to god. At the coorte the thirde of Avgvst 
1586. Y r Loving frend, 


I send you two blankes sygned to be converted into 

Addressed, To his servaunt, Thomas Phillips. 

Endorsed in Phelippes's hand, ' 3 August, from S r Fra. 


No. 38 

[Same day.] 

Pooley * hat he ben w* [me and] hathe geven me great 
[assvr]ravnce of Bab[ington's] devotyon bothe to my 
selve and the pvblycke servyce : and to strengthen my 
opynyon and good conceypt towards him he hathe towld 
me from Bab[ington] that there is one Bal[lard] a great 
practycer in this realme w* the catholyques to styrr vp 
rebellyon w*in the realme, being set on by the Imbfassador] 
of Spayne and Charles Paget. I wylled him to geve him 
great thankes for this advertycement and to requyre him 
in my name to drawe from Ballarde what he coold towching 
sooch partyes as he hathe dealt w*all : and to meet me 
at my howse on saterdaye next. Thowghe I doe not 
fynde but that Pooley hathe dealt honestly w* me : yet I 
am lothe [to] laye my selve any waye open vnto him : but 
have only delyvered sooche speeches as might worke. . . . 
[MS. perished] ... in Bab[ington] I doe not thinke good 
notwtetandyng, to dyffer the apprehensyon of Bab[ington] 
longer then ffrydaye. 2 Ne forte. I lyke well therfore 
that you hasten the ffr[ench] Imb[assador's] dyspatche. 
And yet can I not thinke that he shoold vse his helep in 
the matter : but doe rather ivdge y* he dowbtethe what 
to awntswere. I long to* heare of Bal[lard's] apprehensyon 
w ch I have cavsed to be don by a warrant sygned by the 
L. Admyrall for that I woold not be seen in the matter. 
Sorrye I am that I heare not of G[yfford] whoe myght at 
this present have gyven good assysteavnce. And so 

1 Walsingham's story corresponds exactly with that of Poley himself, 
printed in Boyd, viii. pp. 601, 602. 

2 Babington in the event fled on Friday, 5 August, and was not ar- 
rested till a week later. Ballard was seized on 4 August, in virtue of 
the Lord Admiral's warrant mentioned in the postscript. 


prayeing god to blesse you w* all happye successe I end, 
at the coorte the third of Avgvste 1586. 

Y r Loving frend, 


The L. Admyrall warrant is in ffra: my 11 hands. 

Endorsed by Phelippes, 3 August 1586, fro Sr ffra 



This record by Edward Barker and Thomas Wheeler has not yet been 
printed, or used methodically. Two abbreviated versions of it, however, 
have been made and printed. The one is widely known because it 
appears in all editions of State Trials. The other is somewhat more full 
and explicit, and has been printed in Hardwicke State Papers, the full 
title of which runs ' Miscellaneous State Papers from 1501 to 1726, Lon- 
don, 1778, largely from papers in the library of the Earl of Hardwicke,' 
i. 224-251. This has been reprinted with a commentary by B. Sepp, 
Process gegen Maria Stuart, Munich, 1886. 

Though some description has already been given of this official state- 
ment by Barker and Wheeler, p. 36, above, further details must 
be given of our copy. This appears to have been made by one of 
Cotton's clerks, writing early in the 17th century, with great care and 
accuracy. That Barker and Wheeler were the notaries employed does 
not seem to be affirmed in the MS. itself, but the fact is asserted in 
State Trials, p. 148. 

The Cottonian possesses two copies, (1) A draft now Caligula, B. v. 
ff. 371-413, which contains all the formalities, rubrics, etc., written in 
full, but not all the documents, which are generally represented by 
blanks. In the Catalogue the title is ' Commission for and examination 
of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringay the end wanting, 1586.' 

(2) The completed copy, now Caligula, C. ix. ff. 340-405, is thus 
described in the catalogue. ' A full account of the whole proceedings 
against the Queen of Scots, containing several letters from her and 
to her, her sentence at the end, ff. 340 to 405.' Jn the course of 
various rebindings the pages now bear no less than five different 
paginations (340 = 436=477 = 580). 1 am here following that used in 
the catalogue. 

As has already been noticed in connection with Mary's letter to 
Babington, this source is one of the fullest and most trustworthy 
guides, even in the matters of literary minutiae. I have therefore 


extracted from it several confessions of importance, hitherto unknown, 
or only known in faulty, and possibly garbled versions. These faulty 
copies come to us through the so-called Hardwicke Papers (reprinted 
also by Sepp), but no critique of this text has yet appeared. In com- 
piling one, use should be made of a contemporary or sub-contemporary 
copy, Caligula, C. ix. f. 494, endorsed ' A brief summary of proceedings 
against the Scottish Queen,' and had previously been entitled, ' Som- 
maries of the proceedings,' etc. In this MS. we see that some para- 
graphs have shorter lines than others. As will appear in No. 45, the 
editing of these short lines is in some cases not only faulty, but fraudu- 
lent. Hence it is very desirable that the whole series of examinations 
should be examined critically, because in the Hardwicke Papers the 
not very palpable distinction between the short lines and the long has 
been neglected, with the result that in the printed version there is no 
distinction at all between the record of the trial and the handiwork of 
the deceitful abbreviator. 

The MS. is written in court style, with hardly any breaks. A few are 
here introduced for the reader's convenience ; especially as paragraphs 
were used in the style of original examinations. 

No. 39 

[16 and 18 August 1586.] 

Caligula, G. ix. 363-364 (=460, etc.). The Summary only gives three lines to this 
confession, Hardwicke, p. 228; Sepp, p. 35; MS. Caligula, C. ix., 4956. The 
heads of evidence in Boyd, viii. 082, also refers frequently to this paper. 

It will be found that Ballard recollects iii. iv. viii. ix. of Babington's 
letter, and ii. iv. vi, iii. of Mary's to Babington. 

Et ulterius adtunc et ibidem ex parte domine nostre 
Regine in presencia dicte Marie, allegatum fuit quod 
decimo sexto et decimo octavo diebus Augusti ultimi 
praeteriti, predictus Johannes Ballard examinatus fuit 
coram Joanne Puckering, uno servientium ad legem, 
Francisco Bacon armigero, et predictis Thoma Egerton 
[Francisco Bacon cancelled] et Edwardo Barker, Quod- 
quidem predicte examinationes prefati Johannis Ballard, 
in scriptum reducte, et per eundem Johannem Ballarde pro 
verificatione inde manu sua propria coram prefati s Johanne 
Puckering, Thoma Egerton, et Francisco Bacon et Edwardo 
Barker subscripte fuerunt, quarum quidem examinationum 
predicti Johannis Ballarde quedam partes coram eisdem 


commissionariis in presentia dicte Marie lecte fuerunt, 
Quarum quidem partium tenores sequuntur in hec verba. 

EXAMINED what letters he is privie to, hath passed to or 
from the Queen of Scotts, he sayeth he is only acquaynted 
that Babinton wrote once unto her and receaved another 
from her. The contents of Babington's (as he remembreth) 
was this. 

A significacion of foreine princes care and his, and his 
freindes for the preservation and deliuerie of [? of the 
Scottish Queen, and for] the plot layed for the performance 
thereof, videt, of the invasion and (as he remembreth) of 
the attempte against her Majesty's person. And lastley 
he required from her to geve her lyking and auctoritie 

The coppie of this letter he sayeth he reade abowte five 
or six weeks since 1 in the Chamber of Babington, who 
then lay in his bed, and told him that he had sent the 
letter in cypher, but he cannot tell by whom, nor how, 
adding that it was needful the Queene of Scotts shoulde 
geve her lyking and aucthoritie, otherwise men wolde be 
loathe to enter into the action. 

Towching the letter from the Queene of Scottes to 
Babington he sayeth that about three weeks after 2 the 
shewe and reading of Babington's letter aforesaid, 
Babington shewed and read to this examinate a parte of 
a letter, the whole not being then (as he saved) disciphered, 
which he sayed came from the Queene of Scotts, the con- 
tents whereof (as he remembreth) weare theis : 

First she accepted his service yerie well, and gave him 
greate thanks for the same, lyking his course and referring 
him for all things necessary to be supplied unto Mendoza, 
prescribing this order unto him, that he sholde not make 
her name appeare herein, but sholde make showe that all 
was done for the Catholickes safetie, bycause if the Erie 
of Leicester shold retourne, they sholde hereafter lyve 

1 This date would be 5 to 12 July. 

2 This date would be 26 July to 2 August. 


in greater daunger then before, bycause he was stronger, 
Further she appoynted Babington to consider what 
number oi horsemen and footemen he cold provide, or 
procure and furnishe, and that for their wants he sholde 
have repaire to Mendoza, and that she wolde allow whatso- 
ever shold be done therein by Babington. 1 And further 
he-sayeth that (as he remembreth) it was conteyned in 
that letter thus, videlt. That towching the great accion 
he must be very circumspect, and more of the said letter, 
he doth not presently remember. 

He also sayeth that he had of Charles Pagett twentie 
poundes before his coming out of Fraunce, and since his 
coming over he hath had of Babington twentie pounds, 
and of Edward Windsor twentie pounds. 


No. 40 


[? 1, 5, and 6 September 1586.] 

B M. Cotton. Caligula, C. ix. 376 (473 v.) ; Caligula, B. v. 433; Boyd, viii. 679. 
On 1 September Babington attested his cipher-key, Dom. Eliz. cxciii. 54. His 
attestation here is probably of the same date. 

This is the verie trewe coppie of the Queenes letter 
laste sente vnto me. Anthony Babington. 

Je pense que cest la litere escripte per sa Ma te a Babington 
Comme il ne [me] peult souuenir, Sexto Septembris 1586. 

The lyke I thinke of this was written in frenche by M r 
Nau, and translated and ciphered by me, as I have men- 
coned in the ende of a coppie of M r Babingtons letter where 
M r Naw hath firste subscribed, Gilbert Curll, Quinto 
Septembris 1586. 

1 This seems to be Ballard's only error, a very natural one for him to 
fall into. 


No. 41 

Calif/ula, C. ix. f. 377 (474) ; Caligula, B. v. 433. The latter omits the French 

The document is to be compared with R.O., M.Q.S., xix. 90; in Morris, 
230 ; Boyd, viii. 679, 680. It follows from note 1 to this text and from note 1 to 
the next that the R.O. version may be interpolated in a sense hostile to Mary. 

Et vlterius ad probandam informacionem predictam 
adtunc & ibidem ex parte dicte domine nostre Regine 
mine in presencia predicte Marie allegation fuit quod 
predictus Jacobus Nau scripsisset in quodam papiro 
quasdam notulas, siue capita, in lingua Gallica predicte 
vltime litere per predictam Mariam ad prefatum Anthonium 
Babington vt prefertur misse. Quodque eedem notule 
siue Capita sic scripta apud Chartley in Com. Staff, in 
conclavi, Anglice the Cdbonett, predicte Marie sub custo.dia 
eiusdem Marie inter alia scripta et munimenta sua invente 
fuerunt, ac per prefatum Jacobum Nau manu sua propria, 
ex predicta vltima litera per prefatam Mariam ad prefatum 
Anthonium Babington vt prefertur missa, scripta et ex- 
tracta, Ac quod idem Jacobus Nau manu sua propria sub 
eisdem notulis et capitibus declarabat ad quem finem et 
propositum eedem notule sive capita sic per ipsum scripta 
et extracta fuerunt. Et super sacramentum suum vt 
prefertur prestitum amrmabat notulas et capita predicta 
esse per eum scripta ; ac ad quem finem & propositum 
eedem notule sive capita sic scripta et extracta fuerunt. 
Que quidem notule, declaracoes et subscripioes, adtunc 
et ibidem coram eisdem Comissionarijs in presencia pre- 
dicte Marie publice lecte ac eidem Marie ostense fuerunt, 
et superinde eadem Maria respondebat se credere easdem 
notulas declaracoes et subscripcoes esse scriptas manu 
propria predict! Jacobi Nau, 

Quarum quidem notularum declaracionum & subscrip- 
cionum tenores sequntur in hijs verbis. 

4 Sicours dehors : forces dans le pais. Armee d'Esp. 
au retour des Indes ; Armee de france au mesme temps, 


la pais se faisant. Guise sil ne passe, tiendra la france 
occupee, de flanders de mesme, Escosse au mesme temps, 
Irland ainsy, Coup, Sortie ' et 4 Cecy sont les pointes qu'en 
presence de la Royne ma maitresse et par son commande- 
ment, Je tiray pur fair la despeche en france ascauoir 
L'Archeuesque de Glasco, et 1'Ambassadeur d'espaigne et 
Charles Pagett. Quant a la lettre escripte a Babington 1 
Jenay rien faict ny escripte comme Jay proteste sans son 
expres commandement, e speciallement touchant' le pointe 
de son eschape en mettant le feu aux granges pres de la 
maison. v to Septembr: 1586. Nau. 

' II 2 me souuient que dans la lettre de la Royne a 
Babington sa Ma te le renuoyoit a 1'Ambassadeur d'espaigne 
pour le support qu'ilz demandoient. Et que sur ceste 
occasion si tost qu'ilz seroient sousleves du coste de deca, 
Ilz luy pouruenssent pour 1'enleuer hors de Chartley en 
surprenant la maison comme il est ia diet cy dessus 
Et le tout fut par le commandement expres de la Royne 
qui Je m'asseure le tesmoignera et aduouera. 

' v 10 Septemb: 1586. Nau. Je depose que dessus par 
mon serment.' 

No. 42 

[6 September 1586.] 

Caligula, C. ix. 378 ; Caligula, B. v. 435v. The latter omits the document. In 
M.Q.S., xix. 90, this is prefixed to No. 41 above; Boyd, vitt. 680. 

Et Vlterius adtuiic et ibidem in presencia predicte Marie 
ex parte dicte domine nostre Regine ostensa fuit in evi- 
dencia eisdem Commissionarijs quedam declaracio dicti 
Jacobi Nau, manu sua propria scripta et per sacramentum 
suum similiter vt prefertur prestita, testificat tarn con- 
cernens scripcionem literarum predictarum per predictam 
Mariam ad prefatum Anthonium Babington vt prefertur 

1 M.Q.S., xix. 90, here adds : Sa Ma te me la bailla pour la plus part 
escripte de sa main, et . . . 

2 This paragraph is omitted in M.Q.S., xix. 90. 


vltime miss arum, quam concernens modum per eandem 
in scribendis et recipiendis alijs literis importancie com- 
muniter vsitatum et observatum. Quam quidem declara- 
cionem et subscripcionem predicte Marie ostensam, eadem 
Maria respondebat se credere esse scriptam manu propria 
predicti Jacobi Nau. Cuius quidem declaracionis et sub- 
scripcionis tenor sequitur in his verbis. 

' Pour la lettre escripte par la Royne ma maistresse a 
Babington Je 1'ay escript 1 par son expresse direction et 
commandement, 1 comme J'ay depose pour les aultres 
lettres, comme tousiours sa maieste a accoustume elle 
mesmes scant a table, et Curll et moy deuant elle, sa 
maieste me commande particulierment et de poinct en 
poinct tout ce quil luy plaist estre escript. Et 2 soubz 
elle 2 J'en tire les poinctez aussi particulierement et 
amplement 3 qu'il se peult 3 faire, puis les lui monstre et 
relis. Et selon cela ne restant plus que la disposition de 
la matiere, Jay escript les dictes lettres, et a elle monstrees 
et deliueres, pour en estre faicte comme il luy plaist 
ordonner. Car sa maieste ne veult permettre qu'on 
escripue pour [? pas] lettres d'Importance et secrettes hors 
de son Cabinet. Et ne se ferme mesmes aulcune despeche 
qu'elle ny soit present. Et relist tousiours toutes les 
lettres auant qu'elles sont mises en Chiffre et translates, 
Ce qui se fait par Curll, mesmement de la lettre escripte 
a Babington. 

' vj to Septembr: 1586. Nau. Je le depose par mon 

1 M.Q.S., xix. 90, adds : Sus une minute de la main de Sa Ma te . 

2 M.Q.S., xix. 90, reads sur cela. 

3 M.Q.S., xix. 90, reads que je puis. 


No. 43 

[23 September 1586.] 

Caligula, C. ix. f. 379 (=476) ; Caligula, B. v. f. 437. 

Et vlterius ad tune et ibidem ex parte eiusdem domine 
Regine ac in presencia predicte Marie ostense fuerunt in 
evidencia eisdem Commissionarijs separales declaraciones 
predictorum Jacobi Nau et Gilberti Curll specialiter perti- 
nentes tarn predicte litere per prefatum Anthonium 
Babington ad prefatam Mariam misse, quam predicte 
littere per eandem Mariam superinde ad eundem 
Anthonium Babington similiter directe et misse sub mani- 
bus et per sacr amentum predictorum Jacobi Nau et 
Gilberti Curll separatim et seorsim vt prefertur prestite 
declarate et testificate. Quas quidem declaraciones pre- 
dictas Jacobi Nau predict! ostensas eadem Maria respon- 
debat se credere esse scriptas manu propria eiusdem 
Jacobi, Ad quas quidem declaraciones predicti Gilberti 
Curll predicte Marie similiter ostensas eadem Maria re- 
spondebat se credere esse subscriptas manu propria eiusdem 
Gilberti, quarum tenores sequntur in hijs verbis. 

' Certains poinctes qui m'ont este bailies en langage 
Anglois par monseigneur le grand Tresorier par ordonnance 
du Conseil, a ce qu'ils fussent par moy translatees en 
francois, et que sur ce Je deposasse s'il ne me souuient 
pas Iceulx auoir escriptz par Babington en sa lettre a la 
Royne ma maistresse. II ma este addresse ' and so forthe 
as by the seuerall lettres before written may appeare in 
the Englishe tounge. 

Vpon the sighte and pervsall of the copie of the letter 
written by Babington to the Queenes Ma tie my mistres, I 
doo remember well that the Clauses hereafter written 
were conteyned in the same letter diciphered att her Ma 18 

By me Gilbert Curll the three and twentith of September 


There was addressed vnto me from the partes beyonde 
the seas one Ballarde a man of vertue and learning and 
of singuler zeale to the Catholick cawse and yo r Ma ties 
service. This man enformed me of greate preparacions 
by the Christian princes yo r Ma tles Allies for the delyer- 
aunce of o r Contrie from the extreme and miserable estate 
wherein it hath so longe remayned, my especiall desire 
was to advise by what meanes w*h the hazarde of my 
lyfe and my freinds in generall I might doo yo r sacred 
Ma tle one good dayes service, And so reojteth allmoste 
all Babingtons lettre to the queene of Scotts w c h is here 
before sett downe as it was geven in evidence and sub- 
scribeth his name therevnto. Then he setteth downe all 
the poynts of the Queen of Scotts lettre to Babington in 
self same wordes that it is heere formerly sett downe to 
be geven in evidence againste her, and subscribeth also 
therevnto. By me Gilbert Curll, and affirmeth as before 
that the said lettres weare firste written in frenche by M r 
Nau and translated in Englishe and ciphered by him by 
the Queene his mistres commandement, the xxiij th of 
September 1586. 

No. 44 

[21 September 1586.] 

Caligula, C. ix. f. 380 (477) ; Caligula, B. v. 438. The latter omits the document. 
A summary of this paper is given in M.Q.S., xix. 107. (?) Not in Boyd. 

Et vlterius ad tune et ibidem ex parte eiusdem domine 
Nostre Regine ac in presencia predicte Marie ostense 
sunt in evidencia eisdem Commissionarijs separales ex- 
aminaco'es predictorum Jacobi Nau et Gilbert! Curll per 
prefatos Thomam Bromley, Willum doimnum Burghley et 
ChrSferum Hatton vicesimo primo die Septembris vltimo 
preteriti separatim et seorsim capt ac manibus proprijs 
predictorum Jacobi Nau et Gilbert! Curll subscript et per 
eosdem Jacobum Nau et Gilbertum Curll per sacramentum 
sua similiter vt prefertur prestitum testificatione et affirma- 
tione : quibus quidem subscript] onibus predicte Marie 


ostensis existentibus, eadem Maria respondebat se credere 
easdem esse scriptas manibus proprijs eorundem Jacob! 
Nau et Gilberti Curll. Quarum quidem separalium 
examinacionum et subscripcionum tenores sequntur in hec 

The Examynacon of M r James Nau taken by the Lorde 
Chancellor the Lorde Treasurer and S r Xpofer Hatton 
knighte vice Chamberleyne to her Ma tle the xxj th of 
September 1586. 

He sayeth, That he tooke the pointes of the lettre 
written by the Scottishe Queene vnto Anthony Babington 
of the date of the xxvij* 11 of Julye laste paste, of the 
delyuerie, of the Scottishe Queenes owne mowthe from 
pointe to poynte in the verie same fashion and manner as 
him self did putt the same in writing w c h letter therevpon 
was drawen in frenche by this Examinate, after w c h the 
Scottishe Queene did correcte the same letter so drawne 
by this Examinate in suche sorte as the same was after 
putt into Englishe by Curll and after putt into Cipher 
by the same Curll in suche sorte as it was sent vnto 
Anthony Babington. He sayeth that the Scottishe 
Queene gave her direccion vnto this Examinate for draw- 
ing the same letter in her Cabynett att Chartley, Curll 
being present thereat & none ells. He sayeth theis points 
conteyned in the Scottish Queenes lettre to Babington 
we are firste delyuered by the same Queene vnto this 
Examinate by her owne speeche vpon consideracon of 
Babingtons lettre written to her, wherein the same pointes 
weare conteyned and in answeare of the same letter, 
That is to saye, first That Babington sholde examyn 
deepely what forces as well on foote as on horsebacke they 
mighte raise amongest them all, The second what Townes 
portes and havens they might assuer themselves of as 
well in the Northe west as Sowthe, And so through, as 
it is before sett downe att large in the Scottish Queenes 
letter to Babington & concludeth or signeth his examina- 
tion w* 11 theis wordes in french. 

Je certefie les choses dessus dictes estre vrayes et par 
moy deposes xxj mo Septemb: 1586. Nau. 


No. 45 

[21 September 1586.] 

Caligula, C. ix. 381. Not in Caligula, B. v. Compared with R.O. M.Q.S., xix. 107. 

The examinacon of Gilbert Curll taken by the Lorde 
Chancellor the Lorde Treasurer and S r Chrofer Hatton 
knight vice Chamberleyne to her Ma tie the xxj th daye of 
September 1586. He saieth that him self did discipher 
the letter written in July laste paste to the Scottishe 
Queene by Anthony Babington. He sayeth that the 
intelligence that the Scottishe Queene had w% ffrancis 
Throckmorton was for conveying of letters, and advertising 
of occurrents vnto the Scottishe Queene. He sayeth that 
when he this Examinate had disciphered the said letter 
written from Anthony Babington, he delyvered the same 
so disciphered vnto M r Nau whoe read it, and therevpon 
did delyver it to the Scottishe Queene in her Closett att 
Chartley. He sayeth that the daye after the same letters 
weare disciphered M r Nau read the same letter vnto the 
Scottishe Queene in her Closett in the presence of this 
Examinate. He sayeth that herevpon the Scottishe 
Queene directed Nau to drawe an answeare to the same 
letter, the w c h Nau drewe in frenche, and that doone, 
Nau read it vnto her, and that doone, the Scottish Queene 
willed this Examynate to putt it into English w c h this 
Examinate did accordinglie, and when he had so doone, 
this Examinate did reade the same so Englished vnto 
M r Nau, w c h doone the Scottish Queene willed this 
Examinate to putt the same letter so Englished into 
Cipher, w c h this Examinate did. He sayeth the lettre 
directed by the Scottishe Queene to Babington, had 
amongest others theis partes in it. 

The firste that Babington sholde deepely examyne what 
fores on foote and horse : ' and so reciteth the cheife 
pointes of her letter in the verie same wordes as you 
haue allreadie read them heretofore, and concludeth ' : 


All theis things above rehearsed I doo well remember 
and confesse them to be trewe. By me Gilbert Curll the 
xxjto of September 1586. 

He sayeth that the letters w c h weare written in July 
laste, anon after the said letter written to Babington 
aswell vnto S r ffrauncis Inglefield, as vnto the Lo: Pagett 
and Charles Pagett, weare firste written by the Queene of 
Scotts herself in french and delyvered to her by [? by her 
to] this Examinat to be translated into Englishe, w c h this 
Examinat did, and delyvered the letters written in frenche 
by the Scottishe Queene vnto the same Queene againe, 
and did putt that w c h himself had englished into cipher 
by the Scottishe Queenes commaundement, and that w c h 
was englished by this Examinate this Examinate did putt 
into a trunke that was in the Scottishe Queenes Cabynett 
vnder locke and key. Theis things abovesaid I have con- 
fessed and are true. By me Gilberte Curll this one and 
twentith of Septemb: 1586. 

Et insuper &c. [The transition to the letter to Charles 

The last five lines of the last number are entirely misrepresented in 
Hardwicke, and in Sepp. Barker and Wheeler had given the strong- 
evidence for the. preservation of the minutes. ' That which was 
Englished . . . this examinate did put into a trunk under lock and 
key.' In the published version we read for this, 'She willed him to 
burn the English copy of the letters sent to Babington.' 

This seems like a falsification of the record, but possibly (as men- 
tioned before) the passage was originally intended as a gloss, a false 
gloss, not a forged record. In MS. Caligula, C. ix. 499, this passage is 
introduced by the words, ' It is to be noted/ and the lines are ' indented ' 
(as printers would say). Possibly these little signs are meant to 
indicate that the editor was now speaking. When, however, as in 
Hardwicke, the distinction between short lines and long was not 
observed, students were naturally deceived, as is seen in the case of 
Sepp. and others. 

The same fraud was repeated twice in subsequent paragraphs (Caligula, 
C. ix. if. 499, 502, 503, Hardwicke Papers, 237, 249, 250, or Sepp. 50, 68, 
69), in each of which the order to burn the minutes is substituted for 
the record of the preservation. 

It seems impossible to give with certainty the motive for this falsi- 
fication. Mary was already dead. Perhaps her adversaries were 
endeavouring to maintain the defence of some of their points. We 


know that they told Nau and Curll, that they had seized copies or 
minutes of the most compromising letters. Nau, deceived by this, had 
told his examiners that they had the minutes ; perhaps others were 
similarly imposed upon. The present fraud may be meant to balance 
the earlier deceit; and to explain why the all-important minute was 
not found, because (so they now falsely allege) Mary herself ordered it 
to be burnt. 

No. 46 

[Given in Evidence, 25 October 1586.] 

Caligula, C. ix. ff. 398 (=4956); Caligula, B. v. 415. 

Nau [after renewing his acknowledgment of the letters} 
quod quanquam non sine magno animi sui dolore contra 
Dominam suam ista protulisset, tamen veritate rei coram 
Deo magis commotus confitebatur se vere, sincere, et iuste 
in omnibus examinationibus, declarationibus, scriptis et 
subscriptionibus suis praedictis dixisse et subscripsisse. 
[Nau retires, Curll comes in, renews his attestations.} 

Ac ulterius expressis verbis voluntarie adiunxit quod 
super lectionem eidem Marie dicte litere predicti Anthonii 
Babington ad dictam Mariam misse et tradite, ipse idem 
Gilbertus dixit et declaravit eidem Marie in predicto eon- 
clavi dicte domine sue ubi predictus Jacobus Nau adtunc 
etiam presens fuit, quod attempt articuli et proposita in 
pr,edicta litera predicti Anthonii Babington specificati 
fuere valde periculosa (sic), rogans eamdem Mariam 
dominam suam, quatenus eadem Maria ad attempt 
articulos & proposita ilia nee auscultaret nee consentiret 
aut responderet. Ad quod eadem Maria respondebat 
quod ipsa agere vellet in negotiis illis prout sibi placeret, 
precipiens eidem Gilberto ut obedientiam suam prestaret 
et faceret prout sibi per eandem Mariam in ea parte 
mandatum est. 

[On which he makes oath, 25 October, etc.] 



The original creators of the situation which issued in the Babington 
Plot had been Queen Elizabeth and Lord Burghley, and the following 
letters, written during the trial of Mary, give vivid examples of their 
ways of action. Elizabeth, imperious but changeable, gives orders the 
day after the hearing for an immediate and unanimous adverse verdict, as 
well as sentence and execution against her cousin, though she had given 
different commands just before. What tyranny could be more stark ? 

Lord Burghley and his fellows naturally resented this. Walsingham 
had groaned to Burghley a few days earlier, ' I would to God her 
Majesty would consent to refer these things to them that are best judges 
of them, as other princes do' (Dom. Eliz., cxciv. 14). Walsingham was 
a ministerialist, Lord Burghley followed a different line. He pleads 
that his mistress's orders are e unpossible,' as well as dishonourable, and 
( an error in law,' and he thus induced her to relent in her capricious 
despotism. By informing his confreres of the line he had taken, he 
ensured their support for his policy, which prevailed, as it so often did 
on other occasions. 

No. 47 

[15 October 1586.] 

Oxford, Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. Ixxviii. f . 173. An office copy with several 
slips ; the writer has become unrecognisable, but from the rest of the corre- 
spondence it may be by Davison. 

My verie good L. her Maiestie findinge by your Lord- 
ship's letter, together with others from Mr. Secretarie of 
the deferinge to pronounce the sentence theare uppon 
hearinge of the cause against that Q:, wilbe a matter 
subject both to slaunder and confusion, bicause the voices, 
given as theie ought to be publicquelie, must necessarelie 
be followed with the sentence bothe pronounced and 
recorded, and that the Commission do * determine hath 
comaunded me to signifie unto you, albehit by her frind 
she gave you other direction (not thinkinge it cold have 

1 MS. to. 


proved in anie sort prejiudiciall to her honor and service) 
yet is she nowe verie well pleased ; and so hathe comaunded 
me expresselie to signifie unto your Lordship, Mr. Secre- 
tarie and Mr. Vicechamberlaine, that x you should againe 
convene the rest of the Lords and others in Comission so 
soone as you maie possiblie after the receipt hereof, to 
the place appointed for this purpose and there to proceede 
to votinge and finishinge of this acte with the sentence 
accordinge to the comission in that bequest. Whereat 
neuertheles she thinketh it needed that good heede be 
taken : that in gatheringe the opinions and proceedinge 
to the said sentence ther fall out no difference or con- 
trarietie amongst you that be in Comission prejiudiciall 
to her H. said service, besides that for the maner she 
thinketh it meete, that at the pronouncinge thereof none 
be admitted but such onlie as are in Comission and are of 
necessitie to be present. Herewith her H. hath comaunded 
me to dispatche this messenger expresselie whom I beseech 
your Lordship to return with your answer so soone as you 
maie possiblie, bicause you have such direct comaundment 
from her Majestic. And so in hast most humblie take my 
leave. At the Corte, etc., xv^ 1 October. 

Endorsed [? Mruulfutre= ? Mr. und'fectre= e ?Mi\ Under- 
secretarie] to my L. Tres. 

No. 48 

[Burghley, 16 October 1586.] 

Dom. Eliz,, cxciv. n. 45. Autograph, hastily written, the termination elliptical. 

SIR, Even now I have receaved these included, the 
lyk wherof I thynk you have. I have answered that by 
this accident hir Maiesty may se the Inconvenience to 
have had this commission to be executed so far distant 
from hir : and for the matter conteaned therin I have 
shewed how unpossible it is to Conveane vs to gether afor 
the xxv th , both because it should be an error in law the 

1 MS. if. 


commissioners being arrived and almost in fact vn- 
possible to come sonar than on [the] day appoynted. I 
have gyven hope that the matter will tak a good end, 
and honorable for such a cause ; which wold not vpon .2. 
only dayes, or rather but vppon 1. day and a half hearyng 
be also judged. For so we might verefy y e scott : Qu. 
allegation, that we cam thyther with a preiudgment, and 
that, as she sayd, it was so reported comenly. 

I tak my leave of Mr. vicech[amberlain] and your self, 
wishyng my self [? with you], seing I cold have nether 
[? of you] w th me. from my hows at burley, xvi th Octr. 
vii a hor. Yours ass., W. BURGHLEY. 


No. 49 


[Chambery, 1611.] 

From codex Scotia Historica, 1566-1637, ff. 12-15. A volume in the possession of 
the Order and made up of reports, memoirs, and other historical pieces. It 
was put together for or by N. Orlandini, F. Sacchini, and other writers of the 
Historia Societatis Jesu, in six volumes, folio. The volumes covering 
Fr. Crichton's period, by F. Sacchini, came out in 1661, but I cannot make 
sure that he has really used this memoir. There is a biography of Father 
William Crichton in D.N.B., in G. Oliver's Collectanea, and in H. Foley's 
Records S.J., vol. vii. Crichton's Memoir falls into two parts. The first 
half is a narrative of his own adventures from 1582 to 1587. The second part, 
which is very short, gives dates for the deeds of his fellow Jesuits during a 
later period. This part is for the present held over. 

Scotia ab anno Christi 203, quo sub Victore summo 
pontifice suscepit Donaldus Rex Scotiae et regnum eius 
fidem catholicam, permansit per successionem continuam 
octoginta regum constans in fide catholica vsque ad hunc 
regem qui nunc regnis Anglise Scotiae et Hibernise domi- 
natur, qui anno primo nativitatis suse e gremio Reginse 
matris suae ab hereticis ereptus in heresi est educatus, et 
omni fraude et industria instructus vt fidem catholicam 
detestaretur, quam instructionem hactenus est amplexatus 
et secutus. 


Anno Christ! 1583 l R. P. Claudius Aquauiua Generalis 
Societatis Jesu misit in Scotiam Gulielmum Creittonum 
sacerdotem eiusdem Societatis Scotum, vt dispiceret quid 
auxilij posset Societas illi regno iam ab haereticis occupato 
adferre, et imprimis vt ageret cum nobilibus a quibus 
tota vis regni dependet. Cum P. Creitton in Scotiam 
venit solus fuit inter nobiles (qui sunt consilij Status 
regni) inuentus constans in religione catholica Dominus 
lord seu Vicecomes de Seton, qui P. Crittonem libenter 
hospitio suscepit ac humaniter tractauit. Coeteri omnes 
tyrannidem eorum qui regnum Gubernabant praesertim 
Ministrorum hsereticorum predicantium metuentes hseresi- 
bus subscripserant. Gubernabat tune regem adhuc sub 
tutela viuentem Dux Lenoxiae regis consanguineus, cum 
quo existimabat P. Creittonus imprimis tractandum, 
quippe quod corde nouerat eum esse catholicum, quamuis 
in exterioribus satisfaciebat Ministris in omnibus. 

Post multas difficultates obtinuit P. Crittonus collo- 
quium 2 cum duce ; noctu in palatium regis introductus 
et per biduum in secreto cubiculo absconditus obtinuit a 
duce vt regem in fide catholica curaret instruj, vel (cum 
tempore) extra regnum educi, vt posset liberius fidem 
catholicam amplecti ; et haac sub quibusdam conditionibus 
tantummodo pecuniarijs et multo minoribus quam vide- 
batur res tanti momenti mereri. Articulos huius rei 
curauit P. Crittonus confici et manu ducis subsignari, vt 
rei certa adhiberetur fides, et vt Summus pontifex, qui 
tune fuit Gregorius 13 pie memorie non verbis P. Critton 
sed scriptis ipsius ducis fidem adhiberet. 

1 Crichton got his commission in Rome, 23 December 1581. He passed 
through Paris in February 1582 and reached Scotland before the end of 
that month, and was received by George, Baron Seton, who died in 1585. 
It was the next lord who was advanced to the title of Earl of Wintoun. 

2 The interview with Esme Stuart, Seigneur d'Aubigny, and Duke of 
Lennox, took place at Dalkeith ; the articles mentioned below were dated 
there on the yth of April. The original, in French, and signed by Lennox, 
is still preserved in the Vatican Archives (Inghilterra, i. f. 219 and 224), 
printed by I. Kretschmar, Invasionsprojecte, Leipzig, 1892, pp. 123-128. 
Crichton rightly says that the articles stipulated for a subsidy ; though he 
was forgetful when he adds that this was all. A strong body of troops was 
also bargained for. 


His obtentis a duce discessit statim P. Critton et in 
Galliam traiecit. Vbi Parisios venit dux Guysius, Regis 
cognatus, Archiepiscopus Glasguensis, P. Tyrius et Scoti 
existimarunt causam catholicam iam obtinuisse, 1 et 
effecerunt vt P. Critton summa diligentia Romam ad 
summum pontificem contenderet, quod fecit. Fuit 
negotium Pontifici gratissimum, et pollicebatur se omnia 
subministraturum ; sed rex Hispanise voluit huius rei et 
contributionis pecunise esse particeps. Conuentio facta 
est quantum quis contribueret, et vt deponeretur pecunia 
in manibus R ml Archiepiscopi Glasguensis Scoti, Parisijs 
legati Regis Scotise apud Regem Gallise. Stetit summus 
Pontifex promissis, sed vbi spacio duorum mensium rem 
confici oportuit procrastinata est in duos annos : interim 
res detect a est a ministris et nobilibus haereticis, a quibus 
rex ereptus est e manibus ducis 2 ; qui vix manus hsereti- 
corum et mortem euasit, et in Galliam aufugiens in 
itinere Londinj datum fuit ei venenum (vt fertur) et vbi 
Parisios venit, post paucos dies e vita migrauit, et sic tota 
ilia spes et negotiatio concidit. 

Anno postea 1585 8 missus est in Scotiam P. lacobus 
Gordon vna cum patre Critton, sed inter nauigandum 
capta est nauis ab holandis hsereticis rebellibus a suo 
Rege, qui cum bellum non haberent cum Scotis, nauis 
demissa est libera, sed a mercatore qui nauem conduxerat 
detecti sunt P. Gordon et P. Critton et accusati tanquam 

1 The meetings in Paris took place in April 1582, and Crichton reached 
Rome early in June. Crichton's memory is again faulty in regard to King 
Philip's action. It was the Pope who urged acceptance. Philip, his 
hands full with the war in Portugal, would not accept till his fleet was 
free. It did not return till after the Raid of Ruthven. 

2 The Raid of Ruthven took place 23 August 1582. Lennox then 
retired to Paris and died 26 May 1583. The plan, which fell to the 
ground in August 1582, was revived in a modified form when James 
recovered his liberty in July 1583. Spain soon after definitely refused to 
act ; the exiles, however, continued to hope that she would till 1584. This 
is what Crichton means by ' procrastinata est in duos annos.' 

3 Fathers James Gordon and Crichton left Paris early in August 1584. 
Patrick Ady, who was imprisoned with Crichton in the Tower and 
tortured there (Hart, Diarium Turns, p. 361), seems also to have been set 
free with him in May 1587. 


hostes suae sectae in Scotia, et propterea ab holandis 
detenti, sed mercator timeiis ne a Comite Huntleo nepote 
patris Gordon j occideretur, ob detectum et accusatum 
eius patruum curauit vt liberaretur P. Gordonus et in 
eius locum substitueretur dominus Ady sacerdos secularis 
in Scotiam proficiscens, qui vna cum patre Critton ductus 
est Ostendam, vbi cognitus P. Critton esse Societatis lesu 
addictus fuit morti ob necem principis Auriaci, quern 
dicebant interfectum consilio lesuitarum, et ideo omnes 
lesuitas qui in eorum manus inciderent esse suspendendos, 1 
et in hunc finem fuit furca erecta ad P. Critton suspenden- 
dum. Interim tractabatur in Anglia fcedus inter holandos 
et Reginam Angliae, quae quidem intelligens p. Crittonem 
captiuum esse Ostendae, petijt ab ijs qui foedus tractabant 
eum sibi donari, et misit nauem expressam qui [sic] eum 
in Angliam deduceret ; et sic fuit P. Crittonus dono datus 
Reginae Angliae, et ita euasit crucem sibi Ostendae prae- 

Sistitur 2 coram consilio in Anglia, petunt qui vocetur ; 
respondit se vocari Gulielmum Critton, se esse Scotum, 
catholicum, sacerdotem, lesuitam, ' si haec ' (inquit) ' sunt 
crimina,' non opus est multis interrogationibus vt ea 
fateatur, se nihil commisisse contra Reginam aut regnum 
Angliae, si quid sit in quo esset accusandus, vt eum in 
Scotiam ad suum regem remitterent iudicandum, Anglis 
enim non erat subiectus, nee propria voluntate venit in 
Angliam. Responderunt se habere in quo eum accusarent, 
Et proferunt litteras quasdam eius interceptas, in quibus 
continebatur se quorumdam catholicorum confess] ones 
audiuisse Lugdunj, et inter ceteros Dm Thomse Arundel, 
cognati Reginae, Ostendunt ei litteras ; petunt num 
agnosceret illos caractheres : subito ei in mentem venit 
nee fateri nee negare cognitionem caractherum. Respondit 
igitur se non posse discernere vere inter illos caractheres 

1 The Prince of Orange had been assassinated 30 June/io July 1584. For 
the cruelties in England consequent on his murder, see Introduction, p. xxiv. 

2 Crichton's examinations in Dom. Eliz., clxxiii. nos. 2, 3, 4, are dated 
3 and 4 September 1584, printed from other sources in Knox, Letters of 
Cardinal Allen, pp. 425-434. 


et suos ; sed quia alias per confictos caractheres fuit 
deceptus Lugdunj cum amissione 40 aureorum se nolle 
facile fidere caractheribus. Respondent ; 4 si vis ignorare 
caractheres, non potes ignorare sensum litterarum ; lege.' 
Legit et videns rem vergi in dispendium nobilium respondit, 
caractheres non confingi nisi vt tegatur, et artificiosius 
fungatur materia ; iam duos annos elapsos esse a data 
litterarum, et ideo se non habere memoriam rerum ad se 
parum pertinentium. Respoiiderunt ; ' tu putas euadere, 
sed te habebimus.' Dimiserunt ilium in cubiculum et 
conficiunt plurimas cautelosas interrogationes, quas mit- 
tunt^ad eum per subsecretarium, quibus scripto ei erat 
respondendum. Subsecretarius hie habebat patruum in 
Societate P. Laurentium Fant x : prima- igitur eius verba 
ad P. Critton fuerunt ; ' Vix,' inquit, ' poteris euadere 
inconueniens in tuis responsionibus, sed iuues me apud 
patruum meum lesuitam, vt mini cedat bona sua, et ego 
te iuvabo vt respondeas omnibus his articulis sine vllo 
tuo prseiudicio ' : et sic fecit. Putabat igitur P. Critton 
se tune demittendum ; sed e domo Dni Valsingam secreto 
missus est ad carcerem in turri Londinensj. 

Agebatur tune temporis a Regina et consilio Anglicano 
de Regina Scotiae morte plectenda, pro cuius defensione 
missus fuit a Rege Scotiae eius filio Dns Gray us Scotus, 2 

1 There is a letter from ' Nicholas Fante ' in Dom. Eliz., clxxiii. n. 14, 
in which he reports to Walsingham his version of Crichton's conversation. 
He professes to disparage him, and dwells on weak points. The letter, 
however, is not at all inconsistent with Crichton's story of ministerialist 
dishonesty, so characteristic of Elizabeth's reign. Father Arthur 
Lawrence Faunt, born at Foston, Leicester, was of Merton College, Oxford ; 
then of Louvain, then of Munich, and Rome, afterwards Rector of various 
colleges in Poland (Foley, Records S.J., vii. p. 247). Both Faunts are 
mentioned in D.N.B. 

2 Queen Mary wrote, 9 November 1584, to Sir F. Englefielcl at Madrid : 
' My son ... is about to dispatch . . . Gray to the Court of England, 
and I hope to God they will allow him to speak to me.' On 7 February 
Mendoza writes : ' Mr. Gray . . . has returned, having given little 
satisfaction to the English Catholics, and the adherents of the Queen 
of Scots ' (Spanish Calendar, pp. 529, 531). Engleneld's letter in English, 
dated 5 January 1585, is in Caligula, C. viii. (decipher), and Harl. MSS. 
4651, fol. 212, a copy. 


cui misit Regina captiua instructiones inter quas fuit 
articulus vt de liberatione patris Critton ageret, quj eum 
reddidit suspectum de intelligentia cum regina. Huic diio 
Grayo scripsit ex carcere litter as P. Critton, 1 quern summum 
putabat amicum, sed fuit proditor et Reginae et patris 
Critton ; nam reginae instruciones et litteras Crittonj 
ostendit Reginse Angliae et eius consilio, dicebatur quoque 
in mortem Reginae Dnae suae consensisse ; 2 sed cum 
litterae Crittonij nil continerent vnde possent eum accusare, 
tamen accusabatur quod per litteras scripserit et per 
litteras cum alijs communicauerit, quod captiuis negabatur. 
Volebant 3 Crittonem e medio tollere, vt esset [dis- 
positio] 4 ad mortem Reginae, quae paulo postea secuta est. 
Quare accusarunt eum tanquam conscium et consentientem 
in mortem Reginae Angliae per conspirationem D. Caroli 
Paget, qui in Angliam venit et nobiles subornarat, vt cum 
eo in mortem reginae Elizabethae insurgerent. Et quamuis 
conspiratio haec facta fuerit Parisijs, et P. Critton Lugduni 
tune maneret, habitus est tamen particeps conspiracionis, 
et die lunae proximo debebat condemnari. Interim die 
sabbati 5 diem ilium praecedente captus est D. Gulielmus 

1 There is a good deal of illustrative matter in Foreign Calendar, 1584- 
1585, and Cath. Rec. Soc., xxi. n. 20. Hence it appears that Walsingham, 
warned by Gray, examined Crichton about his letter-carriers, but Crichton 
declined to commit himself or them, and afterwards transmitted an 
account of his answers to the Archbishop of Glasgow at Paris. But this 
was seen by a spy (? Bruce), who reported it fully to the English ambas- 
sador, who passed this round to Walsingham again (i March 1585). 
Berden was then set to watch Crichton, and (6 April) sent in many details 
about Crichton 's intermediaries. From Berden we learn that Crichton 
was at first in the Martin Tower (which still stands at the N.E. angle of 
the ballium) ; he was afterwards in Coldharbour (on the site of the modern 
guard -room). 

2 Gray consented to Mary's death, but not on this embassy. 

3 The trial of Crichton, as to which he is not likely to have been mis- 
taken, appears to be hitherto unknown. Perhaps it was abandoned 
without any legal settlement. 

4 ' Dispositio,' in MS. dispo . The death of Mary was, in reality, a 
year later than Crichton's trial. The conspiratio here described seems to 
be that attributed to Francis Throckmorton, who was executed 10 July 
1584. Neither he, nor as yet Paget, intended Elizabeth's death. 

6 The true date of Parry's arrest was Monday, 8 February 1585 (Holins- 
hed, Chronicles, iv. 562). 


Parry Anglus doctor luris, nobilis, ob conspirationem in 
mortem Reginae, qui P. Crittonem purgauit et e morte 

Is enim agentem et exploratorem agebat Venetijs pro 
Regina Angliae, cum tamen esset catholicus et contra 
catholicos inseruiret haereticis : pecunia ductus 1 promisit 
se interfecturum Reginam, et ita satisfactionem facturum 
malorum quae perpetrauit contra Catholicos, quos hoc 
facto putabat se liberaturum a persecutione haereticorum, 
et Reginam Scotise captiuam catholicam in regnum sue- 
cessuram. Vt hoc exequeretur Venetijs venit Lugdunum, 
vbi P. Crittonem consuluit, an hoc tuta conscientia posset 
facere. Respondit P. Critton quod non ; c quia, vt quis 
occidat, duo debent concurrere, causa et potestas ' ; 
causam posset habere, sed potestatem non habet, cum sit 
vir particularis. Respondit se id posse facere propter 
ingentia bona quse sequerentur. Respondit P. Critton, 
ad hoc respondere D. Paulum, nonfacienda mala vt veniant 
bona. At ille ; ' non est ' (inquit) ' facere malum, sed 
bonum ' : respondit P. Critton, esse sophisma ; posse 
quidem esse bonum in effectu, sed non in modo ; vnde ait 
Sanctus Augustinus Deum magis amare aduerbia quam 
nomina, quia bonum non amat nisi bene fiat : bonum est 
occidere latronem, sed si sine potestate, peccatum est. 
Addidit ille ; ' licet occidere tyrannum.' Respondit P. 
Critton ; 4 Nee tyrannum quidem, sine potestate legitima.' 
Replicat ille ; 4 Papa factum haberet r a turn et gratum. 5 
Respondit Critton ; c Hoc verum esse potest, sed erras in 
qusestione : Quaestio enim est, an sub spe ratihabitionis 
papse, possis occidere ? : dico quod non.' Petijt ; ' Quis 
mihi potest potestatem dare ? ' Respondit Critton ; 

1 The story of Parry, drawn from, first-hand evidence, is in the Intro- 
duction, i, 5. Here Crichton is reporting from prejudiced stories heard 
in the Tower. There seems no ground to believe that he was bribed to 
dirk Elizabeth, or that he would have done so if he had had his dagger 
by him. On the other hand, Crichton's account of the interview at Lyons 
shows in Parry all the characteristics of a provocateur. Crichton, 20 Feb. 
1585, wrote to Walsingham, giving an account of the meeting, which agrees 
well enough with this, except as to the last clause. (Holinshed, as above.) 


4 Papa, qui potest infectam pecudem e grege separare.' 
luit igitur Parisios et mediante Nuntio Apostolico R mo 
Episcopo Bergamotensi obtinuit licentiam 1 signatam 
manu et sigillo Ill ml Cardinalis Comensis, Secretarij 
Gregorij 13, quam secum tulit in Angliam. Conuenit 
Reginam, cui persuasit vt in remotum cubiculum se 
reciperet et eum audiret ; et ita factum est, sed cum 
manum admoueret ad pugionem percepit eum pugionem 
in cubiculo suo relinquisse, quern si habuisset certo 
Reginam confodisset. Postea, similem non inueniens 
occasionem, rem suo cognato 2 detexit ; is rem Reginse 
aperuit, vnde captus est, et in carcere dum examinaretur 
dixit se omnia declaraturum, modo non torqueretur, se 
non petere vllam gratiam, morte se dignum iudicans. 
Petitum est ab eo num Crittonem nosceret, et num eius 
consilij fuerit conscius. Respondit et declarauit, omnes 
eius petitiones et responsiones superscriptas Patris Critton, 
et consilia P. Critton semper sibi haesisse in mente, ne 
occideret Reginam. Sic ille mortem subijt, et ab ea 
Crittonem liberauit. 

Habuit P. Critton commoditatem in carcere quotidie 
dicendi missam et singulis diebus dominicis audiendj con- 
fessiones et communicandi plures nobiles captiuos, qui per 
ingeniosam aperitionem ostiorum aut pauimentorum cubi- 
culorum noctu poterant conuenire, non sine ingenti coii- 
solatione nobilium. 3 Cum Dfis de Chasteauneuf legatione 
pro Rege Franciae fungeretur in Anglia et per falsos testes 

1 Crichton is again in error when he calls the cardinal's letter a licence 
to kill. There is nothing at all about killing in it. It was an indulgence 
for performing some good work not specified. In view, however, of the 
whole correspondence, there is no doubt that the cardinal was here badly 
infected by the ' ban ' epidemic, which was at its height. Parry, when 
the letter came (he did not bring it with him), at once sent it in to Eliza- 
beth, and was well rewarded for his cleverness (Holinshed, iv. 568). The 
Cardinal's letter is among the Lansdowne MSS., and has been often 

2 Edmund Neville, who claimed to be Lord Latimer. They called each 
other ' cousin,' but in what degree is uncertain. 

3 Much information on this subject may be found in Cath. Rec. Soc., xxi. ; 
also in Morris, Troubles, ii. 195, etc. 


accusaretur de conspiratione contra vitam Reginae, misit 
Dfim de trapes eques [sic] expedite in Galliam, vt Regem 
suum de re tota informaret. Sed captus est in itinere, 
et fassiculus litterarum et informationes ad Regem 
missiE, et in carcerem coniectus prope patrem Crittonem, 
ad quern scripsit legatus rogans vt litteras quas misit 
curaret dari Dno de trappes, et responsum quam primum 
haberi. Effecit P. Critton vt eodem die darentur et 
responsum haberetur, quamuis ipsemet locumtenens 
Reginae nunquam claues cubiculj vbi D. de trappes cus- 
todiebatur e manibus deponeret, et hoc per famulum 
quemdam ipsius locumtenentis, responsumque misit ad 
legatum, qui celeri nuntio admonuit suum Regem, qui 
curauit legatum extraordinarium quern misit Regina 
Angliae Pafisijs l detineri captiuum sine audientia, donee 
de trappes liberaretur et Parisios veniret pro defensione 
sui legati, ob quod obsequium legatus misit P. Crittono 
eleemosinam plurium aureorum, eique gratias egit quasi 
honori et vitae suse consuluisset. 

Sed supra omnia obsequia quae in hac vita fecit P. 
Critton pro seruitio diuino illud existimauit primum et 
praecipuum, quod multorum nobilium Anglorum vitas 
saluauerit. Inierunt consilium catholici quidam Angli 
liberandi Reginam Scotise catholicam e carcere et resti- 
tuendi religionem catholicam ; cuius consilij Regina 
Angliae et eius consilium non fuerunt ignari, imo huius 
consilij habebantur inuentores et instigatores, et immise- 
runt catholicum furtim, qui feruentius cceteris rem urgeret, 2 
vt ita caperentur catholicj, et inter eos fuit sacerdos 
dictus Joannes Balard, vir bonus et sincerus, qui totum 

1 The arrest of des Trappes was the result of the so-called plot of 
Moody and Stafford, perhaps the most disgraceful of all the ministerial 
malpractices of this period. The French ambassador describes the arrest 
and the dispatch of Waade, 28 January, and repeats it, 7 February 1587. 
He reports on 17 June that Waade had ' at length ' had his audience, 
and had apologised in the Queen's name for this ' pure calumny ' (Scottish 
Calendar, ix. pp. 249, 267, 445). These intercepted letters are in the 
British Museum ; but being without references, I have found only one of 
the originals. 

2 The parts of Gilbert Gifford and of Pooley are here blended. 


regnum circumijt et plurimos nobiles comites vicecomites 
seu lords et Barones in earn sententiam induxit, sed 
nunquam ei suam mentem aperuerunt nisi in confessione 
sacramentali. Proditor nomine Pouly numerum aliquem 
horum catholicorum vocauit ad coenam et Reginam 
admonuit, qui in eius cubiculo capti sunt et in vincula 
coniecti, et inter eos Joannes Balard sacerdos, cui promisit 
Regina et consilium honores et vitam si omnes detegeret, 
factum non poterat negare, complices enim eius tulerunt 
contra eum testimonium. Promisit miser se omnes detec- 
turum, quod erat facturus. 

Interim confmunt omnes catholici Londinum qui in 
confessione tantum mentem Balardo aperuerant trepidi, 
nescientes an fuga vitae consulerent, an manerent confisi 
constantia D. Balard ne proderet sigillum confessionis. 
Interim scribunt ad P. Crittonum, sub cuius cubiculo 
fuit in carcere Balard, vt intelligeret quosnam accusa- 
uerit Balard, qui ne cum vllo communicaret duos habebat 
inclusos custodes, qui noctu dieque vigilarent ne per 
litteras aut verbo cum vllo haberet communicationem. 
P. Critton aliud non inueniens remedium, curauit fieri 
fissuram paruam supra sellam vbi D. Ballard exonerabat 
aluum, et per earn reliquit cadere super genua Ballard 
dum super sellam sederet folium subtile l obductum colore 
qui expungi poterat, in quo scripsit et petijt quomodo 
valeret et in quo ei poterat prodesse. Accepit folium et 
deleto colore rescripsit se confessum multa digna morte, 
sed Reginam et consilium ei vitam et multa promissos, 
si omnes detegeret qui ei sunt confessi, et quia vita ei erat 
chara, ideo vt ei condonarent si omnes detegeret, 2 quamuis 
ei fuisset durum comites et alios nobiles accusare. Ascendit 
postea super sellam et per eandem fissuram porrigit P. 
Critton illud folium. Subito Critton delens quae scripsit 
ille, rescripsit accusans eum de scelere hoc et infamia, et 

1 A sheet of vellum or paper, rubbed over with ashes or dust, and on 
which letters could be traced with the finger, would perhaps suit the 
circumstances here narrated. 

2 The reading is clear, but the sense required ' se omnes detecturum.' 


quia ita non saluaret vitam temporalem et amitteret 
aeternam. Accepta hac P. Crittonj admonitione ei gratias 
egit et iussit vt admoneret omnes qui ei erant confess! se 
nunquam manifestaturum quempiam eorum ob vlla tor- 
menta hums vitae, et se malle millies mori quam hoc 
facere, et se ex animo poenitere quod vllos detexerit, et 
eos quos detexit nominauit. Passus est postea saepius 
grauissima tormenta, sed perstitit constans et passus [est] 
mortem crudelem cum 14 juuenibus nobilissimis invigilia 
et die Sancti Matthei 1587 [sic for 1586]. 

[From margin.] Diligentiam qua vsi sunt multi pro 
liberatione P. Critonj multum ei obfuit. Missus enim fuit 
nobilis e Scotia in hunc finem. Missus fuit Parisijs pastor 
Sancti Germanj doctor sorbonicus. Archiepiscopus Lug- 
duncnsis tune preses consilij regij curauit litteras Regis 
sui frequentes ad Reginam et Consilium Angliae, quae 
omnia persuaserunt P. Crittonum virum esse magni 
momenti, et ideo ne ejs posset imposterum nocere, expedire 
vt moreretur. Quare vt eum caperent, fingunt Reginam 
ei libertatem concessisse, et propterea vt litteras daret ad 
reginam quibus ei gratias ageret. Has litteras habuit 
P. Grit ton suspectas, quare cauit ne quid in eis esset quod 
ipsi posset nocere. Cum secretarius litteras vidit et nil 
tale esse, quod voluit ille, remisit litteras rogans P. Crit- 
tonum haec verba adijcere : ' Et quamuis iure potuerit 
Vestra Maiestas mihi vitam adimere, placuit tamen eius 
clementiae mihi omnia condonare.' Renuit P. Critton 
allegans prouerbium : ' Turdus sibi malum creat ' ; quia 
ex eius stercore fit viscus quo capitur : se nolle turdum 

Egit tandem P. Critton per litteras cum D. Christophoro 
Haton consiliario et omnium familiarissimo Reginse, quern 
sciuit corde esse catholicum, eius humori se accommodans ; 
qui ei a Regina libertatem obtinuit et humanissime trac- 
tauit : quare, cum ad aulam et suam domum vocarat, 
petijt a P. Crittono quid de eo sentirent principes et viri 
catholici, respondit eos idem de eo sentire quod sentiunt 
mathematici de motu orbium caelestium, quj cum motum 
habeant naturalem ab occidente in orientem rapiuntur 


tamen a primo mobili, motu raptus in occidentem. Ille, 
vt fuit doctus, statim intellexit P. Crittonum velle dicere 
quod amplectatur heresim, vt placeret Reginse ; et protulit 
crumenam, et dedit P. Crittono 20 Angelotos 1 ac dimisit. 

[TRANSLATION. Some dates are introduced in square brackets ; 
* denotes that a note will be found here in the latin text.\ 


Scotland, from the year of Christ 203, when under Pope Victor the 
Scottish King Donald and his realm embraced the Catholic faith, has 
through an unbroken succession of eighty sovereigns remained constant 
to the same faith up to the present king, who now rules over the king- 
doms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He, snatched by the heretics 
in the first year after his birth from the bosom of the Queen his mother, 
was brought up in heresy and taught by every fraudulent device to hold 
the Catholic faith in abhorrence, which teaching he has till now 
accepted and obeyed. 

In the year of our Lord 1583 [1582] * the Rev. Father Claudio 
Aquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, sent into Scotland William 
Crichton, a Scottish priest of the same Society, to find out what help the 
Society could afford to that realm then already occupied by the heretics, 
and especially to deal with the nobility, from whom all the power of 
the kingdom is derived. When Fr. Crichton came to Scotland, among 
the nobles, who form the council of their state, the only one found 
steadfast in the Catholic faith was my lord the Lord or Viscount Seton, 
who gladly received Fr. Crichton as his guest and treated him with 
courtesy : all the others, going in fear of the tyranny of those who 
ruled the kingdom, and especially of the ranting heretic ministers, had 
made their submission to heresy. Acting then as guardian of the king, 
who was still in a state of pupilage, was his kinsman the Duke of 
Lennox, with whom Fr. Crichton deemed it necessary in the first place 
to deal, inasmuch as he knew that Lennox was at heart a Catholic, 
though in all external matters it was his wont to humour the ministers. 

After many hindrances Fr. Crichton gained an audience [Dalkeith, 7 
April 1582] * with the Duke ; for, after being smuggled in by night 
into the royal palace and lying hid for two days in a secret chamber, 
he got from the Duke a promise that he would see either that the king 
should be instructed in the Catholic faith, or should after a time be 
taken out of the kingdom, so that he might be at greater liberty to 

1 The ' angel ' (French angelot, a diminutive) was at first 6s. 8d. } and 
rose to IDS. before it ceased to be coined by Charles j. 


embrace the faith and this merely on certain money considerations, 
much smaller than the importance of the matter would seem to warrant. 
Fr. Crichton took care to have the details of this agreement drawn up, 
and witnessed with the Duke's signature, so that absolute reliance might 
be placed on the scheme, and the supreme Pontiff (who at that time was 
Gregory xiu. of blessed memory) might ground his trust not on the 
words of Fr. Crichton, but on the Duke's own handwriting. 

With this concession from the Duke Fr. Crichton departed at once 
and crossed over to France. When Crichton got to Paris [April 1582] * 
the Duke of Guise (cousin to the king), the Archbishop of Glasgow, 
Father Tyrie, and all Scotsmen were convinced that the Father had 
made good the Catholic cause, and caused Fr. Crichton to hasten 
away with all speed to the Pope at Rome, which he did. The project 
was most acceptable to the Pontiff, and he promised to back it in every 
possible way ; but the King of Spain wanted to have a finger in the 
matter and to contribute to the funds. An agreement was made as to the 
amount each was to contribute, and for the money to be entrusted to 
the hands of the Most Reverend Archbishop of Glasgow, a Scotsman, 
ambassador at Paris to the French king for the King of Scotland. The 
sovereign Pontiff was true to his word, but whereas the affair ought to 
have been concluded within the space of two months, it dragged on for 
two years : in the meantime it was discovered by the heretic ministers 
and nobles, by whom the king was wrested from the custody of the 
Duke of Lennox [23 August 1582] *. He barely escaped death at the 
hands of the sectaries, and fleeing away to France, in the course of his 
journey (as is reported) poison was administered to him at London ; a 
few days after his arrival at Paris he passed from this life [26 May 
1583]* and so all the hope that centred in that scheme came to 

In the following year, to wit 1585 [August 1584] *, Fr. James 
Gordon was sent into Scotland along with Fr. Crichton, but on 
the voyage their ship was captured by the heretic Hollanders, who 
were up in arms against their king. As they were not at war with the 
Scots, the ship was freed from embargo ; but, as Fr. Gordon and 
Fr. Crichton were recognised by the merchant who had chartered the 
ship, and accused of being enemies of his sect in Scotland, they were 
for that reason kept in durance by the Hollanders. The merchant, 
however, fearing lest he should be slain by the Earl of Huntly, Fr. 
Gordon's nephew, for his spying accusations against the uncle, took 
care that Fr. Gordon should go free, and ^that in his room should be 
substituted Master Ady, a secular priest, who was on his way to Scot- 
land. So Ady, along with Fr. Crichton, was taken to Ostend. Here 
Fr. Crichton, being known to belong to the Society of Jesus, was 
condemned to death on account of the assassination of the Prince of 
Orange, who they declared had been slain by the machinations of the 
Jesuits, and that therefore all Jesuits who fell into their hands were to 
be hanged, and to that end a gallows had been erected on which Fr. 


Crichton was to be hanged. In the meantime there was being nego- 
tiated in England a treaty between the Hollanders and the Queen of 
England, and she, learning that Fr. Crichton was a prisoner at Ostend, 
asked of those who were arranging the treaty, that he should be handed 
over to her, and sent a ship expressly to carry him off to England. So 
Fr. Crichton was made a gift to the English Queen, and thus escaped 
the gibbet prepared for him at Ostend. 

He is brought before the (Privy) Council in England [Sept. 1584] * ; 

they ask him by what name he is called ; he answered that he is called 

William Crichton, that he is a Scotsman, a catholic, a priest and a 

Jesuit, 'If these things/ quoth he, 'are crimes,' that there was no 

need of many questions to make him confess them ; that he had done 

nothing against the Queen and realm of England ; that, if there was 

anything for which he was to be accused, they should send him back to 

Scotland to his own Sovereign to be tried, that he was not subject to the 

English, nor had come of his own accord to England. They answered 

that they had grounds of accusation against him, and they produce certain 

letters of his that had been intercepted. In the course of which letters 

it appeared that at Lyons he had heard the confessions of certain 

catholics, and among them that of Mr. Thomas Arundell, a kinsman of 

the Queen. They show him the letters and ask him if he recognises 

the handwriting. It suddenly occurred to him neither to acknowledge 

nor to deny recognition of the handwriting. So he answered that he 

could not be quite sure as to the difference between that handwriting 

and his own ; for inasmuch as on another occasion at Lyons he had 

been deceived by a forged script with a loss of 40 gold pieces, he did not 

like to be over-confident as to handwriting. They reply, ' If it's your 

whim not to know the hand, you cannot but acknowledge the drift of 

the letter; read.' He read, and seeing that the matter tended to the 

undoing of the gentlemen, he replied that the characters had been formed 

for no other end than that the matter might be kept secret and more 

craftily performed ; that two years had gone by since the date of the 

letters, and so he had no recollection about matters that had so little 

reference to himself. They made answer, ' You hope to go scot-free, 

but we will catch you.' They sent him back to his room, and drew up 

several crafty questions, to which he had to answer in writing, and these 

they sent to him through an under-secretary. This under-secretary 

[Nicholas Faunt] * had an uncle in the Society, Fr. Laurence Faunt : 

and so his first words to Fr. Crichton were, ' Hardly ' quoth he, 'will 

you be able to avoid trouble in your replies ; but do you befriend me 

with my uncle the Jesuit, so that he bequeath his possessions to me, 

and I will help you to answer all these articles without any hurt to 

yourself ' ; and so he did. Then Fr. Crichton thought that he was now 

going to be released, but from Master Walsingham's house he was 

secretly dispatched to prison in the Tower of London [16 September 1585]. 

At that time efforts were being made by the Queen and Council of 

England to put to death the Queen of Scots, for whose defence the 


Master of Gray, a Scotsman, had been sent by her son, the Scottish king 
[November] *. To Gray the captive Queen sent instructions, among 
which was a clause that he should treat for the liberation of Fr. Crichton, 
which caused Crichton to be suspected of holding communication with 
Mary. Fr. Crichton wrote from prison a letter to the Master of Gray *, 
whom he deemed a very trusty friend, but Gray proved false both to the 
Queen and to Fr. Crichton; for he showed Mary's instructions and 
Crichton's letter to the Queen of England and her Council. Gray was 
also said to have been a consenting party to the death of the Queen his 
Sovereign *. However, although Crichton's letter contained nothing 
which they could bring as a charge against him, yet was he accused of 
writing letters and of communicating with others by letter (a thing 
forbidden to prisoners). 

They wished to remove Fr. Crichton, so that he might be a 
[preparative] for the death of the [Scottish] Queen, which shortly after 
ensued. And so they accused him of having a knowledge of and 
consenting to the murder of the English Queen by the plot * of Mr. 
Charles Paget, who came to England and had instigated the gentry to 
rise with him to compass the death of Queen Elizabeth [1584]. Although 
this plot was hatched at Paris, and Fr. Crichton was then staying at 
Lyons, yet was he judged a party to the scheme and was to be con- 
demned 011 the following Monday : meanwhile on the Saturday pre- 
ceding Dr. William Parry, an English gentleman and doctor of law, 
was seized * on account of his conspiracy against the life of the Queen ; 
and he cleared Fr. Crichton and saved him from death. 

For Parry was acting at Venice as agent and spy for the Queen of 
England, and although a catholic was serving heretics against catholics : 
won over by money, he promised to murder the English Queen * and 
so [hoped] to atone for the wrongs he had done to catholics, whom by 
this enterprise he thought that he would free from persecution at the 
hands of heretics, and that the captive Queen of Scots, a catholic, would 
succeed to the kingdom. In pursuit of this project he came from Venice 
to Lyons, where he asked counsel of Fr. Crichton whether he could do 
this with a safe conscience. Fr. Crichton answered that he could not, 
1 Because, that one may put to death, two things must concur, a [good] 
cause and [legitimate] power ; that perhaps Parry had a [good] cause, 
but that he had not [legitimate] power, as he was only a private indi- 
vidual. Parry replied that he might do it on account of the immense 
good that would follow. Fr. Crichton replied that St. Paul's answer to 
this was, Evil is not to be done that good may ensue. But Parry said, 
' That is not to do evil, but good.' Fr. Crichton replied that this was a 
sophism ; that it might be good in effect, but not in the manner ; 
wherefore says St. Augustine that God loves adverbs rather than nouns, 
because He loves not the good unless it be done well : it is good to slay 
a robber, but (if done) without [legitimate] power, it is a sin. Parry 
went on, ' It is lawful to kill a tyrant.' Fr. Crichton answered, 'Not 
even a tyrant without lawful authority.' He retorts, ' The Pope would 


hold the deed as rightly and kindly done.' Crichton answers, ' This can be 
true, but you are wrong in the [preliminary] question. For the question 
is whether you can kill in the hope of ratification by the Pope. I say 
you cannot.' He asked, 'Who can give me this power?' Crichton 
answered, 'The Pope, who can separate an infected sheep from the 

Parry went to Paris, and by means of the Apostolic nuncio, the 
Most Rev. Bp. of Bergamo, he obtained a licence signed and sealed 
by the Cardinal of Como, secretary of Pope Gregory xui., which he 
took with him into England *. He met the Queen and persuaded her 
to betake herself into a remote room to give him audience. So it was 
done, but when he moved his hand to his dagger, he perceived he had 
left it in his room ; if he had had it, he would certainly have stabbed the 
Queen. Not finding a similar occasion afterwards he opened the matter 
to his relative [Neville] *, and he to the Queen. So Parry was captured, 
and while he was examined in prison, he said he would declare all, if only 
he was not tortured ; he would not ask for any favour, judging himself 
worthy of death. He was asked whether he knew Crichton, and whether 
he [i.e. Crichton] was aware of his plot. In answer he declared all his 
questions and the answers of Fr. Crichton noted above, and that 
Crichton's counsel against killing the Queen always stuck in his mind. 
So he suffered death, and from it freed Fr. Crichton. 

In his prison Fr. Crichton had the opportunity every day of saying 
mass, and every Sunday of hearing the confessions of many prisoners 
of gentle birth, and of giving them communion. By the ingenious 
opening of doors, and [? lifting] of paving stones in the cells, they were 
able to meet at night, not without their intense consolation *. 

When M. de Chateau neuf, ambassador in England for the King of 
France, was accused by false witnesses of conspiracy against the life of 
the Queen, he sent M. des Trappes to France, riding express, to inform 
his King of the whole affair. But he was made prisoner en route, with 
his packet of letters, and informations for the King, and he was thrown 
into a prison cell close by Fr. Crichton. The ambassador wrote to 
him, begging that he would take care that the letters he sent should be 
given to M. des Trappes, and an answer obtained as soon as possible. 
Fr. Crichton caused the letter to be delivered the same day and an 
answer to be obtained, although the Queen's Lieutenant [of the Tower] 
never let out of his hands the keys of the cell, where M. des Trappes 
was guarded : and this was done through a servant of the Lieutenant 
himself. Crichton sent the answer to the ambassador, who sent a mes- 
senger post-haste to warn his sovereign, who in turn took good care 
that the ambassador extraordinary [Sir William Waade] *, whom the 
Queen of England had sent to Paris, should be held captive without 
audience, until des Trappes should be freed, and came there to defend 
de Chateauneuf. For this service the ambassador sent to Fr. Crichton 
a large alms in gold, and thanked him, as though he had been the 
protector of his honour and of his life. 


But above all other services which Fr. Crichton did in this life for 
God's cause, he thought that the first and the chief was that he saved 
the lives of many English lords [and gentlemen]. Some English Catho- 
lics had made a plan for liberating the Catholic Queen of Scotland 
from prison, and of restoring the Catholic religion. Of this plan the 
English Queen and her Council were not ignorant : indeed, they were 
held to be its inventors and instigators. They stealthily introduced a 
Catholic, who should urge the affair, with special fervour, and so deceive 
the Catholics*. Amongst these was a priest called John Ballard, a good 
and sincere man, who went round the whole kingdom and induced very 
many nobles earls, viscounts, or Lords and Barons to [favour] this 
opinion [project], though they never spoke their minds except in sacra- 
mental confession. The traitor, by name Poley, had invited a number 
of these Catholics to supper, and informed the Queen ; so that they 
were taken in his rooms and cast into prison, and amongst them this 
priest John Ballard. The Queen and the Council promised him life 
and honours if he would betray all. He could not deny the fact, for 
his accomplices had given testimony against him. So the poor wretch 
promised to betray all, and this he was about to do. 

Meantime those who had spoken to Ballard in confession only, 
flocked to London, not knowing whether they should protect their 
lives by flight, or remain trusting to the constancy with which Mr. 
Ballard would maintain the seal of confession. Meanwhile they write 
to Fr. Crichton, because Ballard was in the cell under his, begging 
him to let them know whom the English priest had accused. Now 
there were two warders locked up with him, who were on the watch 
night and day to prevent any one communicating with him by word or 
letter. Fr. Crichton therefore not finding any other means, care- 
fully made a small cleft over the closet which Ballard used, and let 
slip through it a thin leaf covered with coloured matter, which could 
be brushed off. On this he wrote asking how he was, and how he could 
help him. Ballard, having rubbed the colouring matter, wrote back 
that he had confessed many things worthy of death, but that the Queen 
and Council had promised him life and many other things if he would 
but reveal all those who had been to confession to him. So, as life 
was dear to him, he hoped that all whom he named would forgive him, 
hard though he found it to accuse the earls and others. Then standing 
on the seat he handed back the leaf through the cleft. Crichton 
immediately rubbed out what he had written, and answered accusing 
him of crime and infamy : that he would not save temporal life, and 
would lose life eternal. Having received this admonition from Fr. 
Crichton, he returned him thanks, and told him to inform all his 
penitents, that he would never reveal one of them for any torments in 
this life ; and that he would rather die a thousand times than do so : 
that he regretted from his heart that he had named any, and he 
mentioned their names. He afterwards suffered the most grievous tor- 
tures, but stood firm and constant, and underwent a cruel death with 


fourteen other young gentlemen of family on the vigil and on the feast 
of St. Matthew [20, 21 September 1686]. 

The diligence which was used by many for his liberation did Fr. 
Crichton much harm. One of noble house was sent from Scotland for 
this purpose ; from Paris was sent the Cure of St. Germain,, a doctor of 
the Sorbonne l ; the Archbishop of Lyons, then president of the Royal 
Council, took care that a number of Royal letters should be dis- 
patched to the Queen and Council of England : but all this persuaded 
them that Fr. Crichton was a man of great importance, and so, lest 
he should be able to injure them at some future time, it was expedient 
that he should die. AVherefore, in order to entrap him, they pretend 
that the Queen has granted him liberty, ' so let him write a letter to 
the Queen, and return her thanks.' Fr. Crichton being suspicious 
of these letters, took care lest there should be anything in them 
which might do him injury. When the Secretary saw the letter and 
that it was not such as he desired, he sent it back, asking Fr. 
Crichton to add these words, ' and though your Majesty might by rights 
take away my life, yet it has pleased your clemency to pardon me 
everything.' Fr. Crichton demurred, quoting the proverb, ' The 
thrush makes ill for itself,' i.e. because from its dung is made the 
bird-lime by which it is caught. 

Fr. Crichton dealt by letter with Sir Christopher Hatton, the 
councillor, and the most familiar of all with the Queen. He knew 
him to be a Catholic at heart, and he accommodated himself to his 
humour. Hatton obtained liberty for him from the Queen, and used 
him with very great humanity. He asked Crichton what princes and 
Catholics thought about himself. Crichton answered that they felt 
about him, what mathematicians think about the motion of the heavenly 
bodies. They have a natural motion from west to east, but still they 
are drawn by the primum mobile, and carried by motion to the west. 
Being a learned man, he at once understood that Crichton would have 
liked to say, that he had embraced heresy to please the Queen ; and 
taking out his purse he gave him 20 angels [about 10] and let 
him go. [? May 1587.] 

1 Fr. Alexandre Georges, S. J., wrote to Rome, 2.2 June 1586, that M. de 
Cueilly, of the Sorbonne, had taken the King's letter to the ambassador 
in London, and that he had interceded with much effect. Elizabeth 
had commended Crichton and promised his release. ' I pray God this 
may not be hindered by her dishonest ministers.' Jesuit MSS. Gallic 
Epistolcs, xv. 42. 



George Gifford's plot was so intimately connected with that of Babing- 
ton, that it seems worth while to give all the accessible documents 
about it in calendar form. Documents A, C, D will be found con- 
veniently printed in T. F. Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, 1882, pp. 
xlviii, 412, 413, 414 ; also in Kretschmar, Invasionsprojekte der kathol- 
ischen Mdchte gegen England, Leipzig, 1892, Nos. 24, 25. The Spanish 
documents B, E, F are in A. Teulet, Relations Politiques, v. 276, and 
Spanish Calendar, pp. 464, 479. Pieces H to M are unpublished. 


[Paris, 2 May 1583.] 

The Dukes of Guise and of Maine tell me that they have a 
plan (maneggio) for killing the Queen of England. One of her 
household who conceals his Catholicism, hates the Queen because 
she has executed some of his relations. He made proposals to 
the Queen pf Scotland, who would not listen to them. He was 
sent here, and it has been agreed that the Duke of Guise shall 
give him a bond for 50,000 francs (X5000), 1 and that he shall 
see 50,000 francs deposited with the Archbishop of Glasgow. 
The Duke does not ask the Pope to aid him in this matter, but 
to have money ready for an expedition to England, if the plot is 

I, the Nuncio, answered that, ' I believed the Pope would be 
glad that God should chastise that enemy of his in any way ; but 
it would not become him to procure her punishment by those 
means.' I would riot write to the Pope about it, nor do I say 
this to make you report it. It will be sufficient if the subsidies, 
which may amount to 80,000 scudi, are ready to be paid later. 


[Paris, 4 May 1583.] 
The Duke of Guise is making active preparations for the 

1 ' The piece of silver called Franke, ... is worth two shillings Eng- 
lish ' (Fynes Moryson, Itinerary, ii. p. 294) . 


enterprise of England. We ought to have our contributions 
ready to give him in case his plans succeed, ' especially one 
which I dare not set down here, because of the danger. It will 
be well enough known, if it succeeds, and if it does not, news 
may be sent some day with safety, and the delay will not 


[Rome, 23 May 1583.] 

' I have told the Pope what you wrote home, about the affairs 
of England, and he cannot but think well that the country 
should be freed by any means from oppression, and restored to 
God and to our holy religion. He says that in case the business 
takes effect, the 80,000 scudi will be very well spent.' 


[Pom, 30 May 1583.] 
'Father Robert [Persons] has returned from Spain, having left 

Madrid on the last day of the past month of April. . . . 

[What follows is on a separate sheet.] The design against the 

Queen of England will, I believe, come to nothing.' 


[Paris, 24 June 1583.] 

< The project on which the Duke of Guise had embarked, and 
upon which I wrote on the 4th of May, was a violent attempt 
against that lady, from whom some one (perhaps for private 
interests) was to have relieved him. I see that at present it is 
entirely lost sight of; there is no further dealing with it. The 
provision which was asked on this account will therefore be no 
longer required.' 

[The words in italics above were underlined by the King, who notes in 
the margin, < So I think we understood it here. If they had done 
so, it would not have been wrong; but they should have pro- 
vided certain things beforehand.'] 

[With these letters our first-hand evidence ceases: there are 
half a dozen later pieces, but their value is not very great.] 


[London, 19 August 1583.] 
The person, whom I mentioned in my former letters, has been 


ordered, in consequence of an accidental circumstance, not to go 
where the other person is. For this reason he has come to give 
[me] that which was entrusted to him, saying that he would 
deceive no one, for the occasion was gone. This shows that he 
proceeds with sincerity, and that God does not wish that the 
business should be done in this way.' 

[The King wrote in the margin, ' I do not understand what this 
circumstance can be, if the matter had been well arranged.' x ] 

[This might indeed be a new endeavour of the same scoundrel that 
attempted to get money from the Duke of Guise ; but, pace Mr. Froude, 
the words would suit a thousand other hypotheses. We cannot gather 
anything for certain from this, as it now stands.] 


[Paris, 10 March 1585.] 

The father Provincial of the Jesuits told me to-day that Father 
Crichton has been asked in England, whether he knows that the 
Pope deposited 12,000 scudi in the keeping of Father Claude 
[Matthieu] to procure the assassination of the Queen of England. 
This question was put to him after the imprisonment of William 
Parry. 2 

[Neither the names, nor the sum, nor any other detail precisely cor- 
responds with the story of George Gifford. Nothing of the sort occurs 
in Parry's extant letters or confessions. The question put to Crichton 
may have been a mere ruse de guerre. But Pope Gregory had in the past 
sent money to English suitors through Pere Claude Matthieu.] 

[A few years later Father Jasper Heywood, S.J., who was then old 
and odd, and had developed a wonderful animus against Father Persons, 
wrote a long complaint to Father Aquaviva, in which the following 
occurs, Jesuit MSS. Anglia Historica, i. 118] : 


[No place or date, but probably after 1586.] 

< George Gifford, a prodigal dissolute young man, lived at the 
court of Queen Elizabeth. Father Robert [Persons] dealt with 

* Spanish text in Froude, xi. 379 : an English 'translation in Spanish 
Calendar, p. 502. 

2 T. F. Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, p. 434- 


him about the slaughter of the Queen, and the whole matter was 
entrusted to him to kill her by himself. This he undertook, and 
then betrayed the whole affair. Whether the Queen may be 
killed or no, it is not for me to judge. The Father General will 
decide what is becoming for the Society.' 

[Here we see a considerable error about Father Persons, who 
did not in reality return from Spain until the plot was abandoned 
(so D). This error occurs in /: so that they probably both came 
from the same source possibly Morgan. It seems also to be 
erroneous to say that George Gifford * betrayed the whole affair.' 
If he had, he would not have been imprisoned in 1586, nor have 
answered as we shall see under K. See also M.] 

(extract). 1 

' Also that George Gifford promised to have slain her Majesty, 
for the futherance whereof he receaved 800 crownes or pounds (I 
know not whether) sent him by the D. of Guise, all which Gilbert 
Gifford affirmed unto me, saying that the D. of Guise protested, if 
ever he caught him, he should die for it, for that he performed 
not before this. 

' Item, that George Gifford (as far as I could learn) was first 
and specially moved to this attempt by Parsons the Jesuite. Not- 
withstanding lately sollicited to the same out of France, by the 
letters of D. Gifford, his brother [in] the presence of Gilbert Gifford. 

' Item, that Gilbert Gifford had often conference with Richard 
Gifford, brother to George Gifford, and that the said Richard was 
privy to this vowed attempt by his brother George against her 
Majesty, as Gilbert Gifford told me.' 

In the Official Summaries of Examinations to be used in court, the 
references to Gilbert's solicitation (here in italics) are generally omitted. 
In the State Trials they altogether disappear. This solicitation took 
place in June 1585. In this account again all the details are altered. 
In the original the sum was 50.000 francs, or 5000 ; here 800. In 
reality the money was to be given after the crime ; here before. In 
reality Persons was in Spain since Midsummer 1582, and only returned 
after the plot was given up in 1583 ; here he was the first to move the 

1 R.O. M.Q.S. xix., n. 38 ; B.M. Caligula, C. ix. f. 292 = 408. Cf. Boyd, 
viii. 613. 




[6 September 1586.] 

[After giving an abstract of Savage's examination just quoted, the 
summary thus alludes to other examinations now lost.] 

Ballard (examined) 8 August, ' as he hard ; and that George 
Gifford had sworn it to Persons.' 

Ballard, 12 August, sayth, < he hard it of Gilbert Gifforde.' 
Ballard, 19 August, ' that he told it to Babington and Donne. 
Tichburne, 29 August, ' Babington told him that George 
Gifford had received money of the Duke of Guise for undertaking 
to kill the Queen.' 

GEORGE GIFFORDE himself herupon examined 23 August, 
utterly denieth that ever he knew Persons or Ballard, 
that ever he had any intelligence from the Duke of Guise, 

or from any other from beyond the seas, 
or ever received any mony from the Duke of Guise, 
or from any beyond the seas.' 

[This professes to be evidence for and against believing that George 
Gifford was a conspirator. It really shows how the virus of Gilbert 
Gifford's story spread. Having previously infected Savage, it contami- 
nates Ballard. From Ballard it passes to Babington and Dunne, from 
Babington to Tichborne, and probably to Poley. At all events Poley 
says that George was ' practised by Persons, and had received 800 /. or 
900 /. at several times for the attempt' (Boyd, viii. 600). George 
Gifford's statements may in themselves be true.] 

R.O. Domestic Elizabeth, cxcv. 58, f. 142. 

[London, 13 December 1586.] 

' Item. Item, it was confessed by Ballarde that he had talked 
with Mr. Gifford, and told him that he had been in France, and 
brought him letters from his brother William, wherein the said 
Gifford was entreated and persuaded to leave the court and to 
go over into France, where order was taken for his maintenance. 
< Nay,' said he, ' sith that I have consumed and spent myself in 
the Courte. I will take another course.' Ballard did also confess 
that divers times he had speech and conference with him.' 

The message confessed by Ballard tallies exactly with that brought by 
Gilbert Gifford in October 1585. But there is nothing suspicious in this. 

1 R.O. M.Q.S. xix. 91. Another copy, B.M. Caligula, C. ix., fol. 295. 
Boyd, viii. 680. 



[7 May 1587.] 

After Gilbert Gifford had received Elizabeth's promise of 100 
a year as a reward for his treacheries, he wrote to Phelippes a 
letter (R.O. Dom. Eliz., cc., no. 48, fol. 101, cipher with a 
decipher by Phelippes (ibid., no. 50), in which, however, there are 
several omissions), dated 1 or 7 May 1587 N.S. I copy the para- 
graph relating to George Gifford. The names in italics are in 
cipher. Gilbert, as will be seen from the conclusion, is now 
boldly acting the part of a trickster. See above, p. 124. 

' And for George Gifford it were a long circumstance to declare 
how cunningly / was brought into the matter, which as I said, so 
will I answer at the day of judgment, I knew nothing but by 
mere conjectures at my first coming over [Dec. 1585], and / 
brought him only this message from D. Gifford, that he would 
devise a course for him to live honourably, the state standing as 
it doth. These were the formal words, which I delivered him 
from D. Gifford, Marie, that he requested him to come over. At 
my return [June 1586] I had a further light in the matter; but 
having delivered this message and perceiving it tended to this 
effect, which when I had not at first discovered, I feared lest it 
might cause jealousy in Mr. Secretary's head, considering my green 
acquaintance with him, as also that I knew him (Gifford) a man 
unresolved, and unfit of whom to, build of. But since I have 
understoode the matter a thousand waies. It is certaine that 
such a devise there was in hand : Nau had the handling of it, and 
delivered money for the purpose in Throgmorton s time, and Ch. 
Arundel laid it forth. This is the sum and substance and is most 
sure. 1 

' Now give me leave to insinuate how you may salve all sores ; 
which you may do either in laying the discovery of matters past 
upon him [George Gifford], for in truth all men think he uttered 
it a principio. Or in laying it upon Nau, or else that Heywood 
uttered it, for he hath spoken it to divers in these parts. Guise 
would give nothing beforehand. Look well to it, lest it renew an 
evil opinion of me, who am clear now : this would hinder the 
Queens and Mr. Secretary's good service in these points. Look 
not for mathematical satisfaction at my hands.' 

1 It will be noticed that this story is entirely different from that which 
Gilbert told in /, above. He is acting as a bold, slippery rogue, telling 
Phelippes 'not to look for mathematical satisfaction at his hands.' 



M. A. Tierney, Dodd's Church History, 1840, iii. p. Ixv. prints both 
the Spanish and the English text. 

[Rome, 30 June 1597.] 

The Queen of Scotland wrote to the Duke of Guise in the year 
1585 reprehending the said Duke and the Archbishop of Glasgow, 
because they had not helped, at the petition of Morgan and Paget, 
to deliver a certain sum of money to a certain young cavallero 
in England, who promised the said pair to kill the Queen of 
England for the said sum of money, as they made the Queen of 
Scotland believe. 

But [it was] because the Duke and Archbishop had learnt that 
the said cavallero was a reprobate (un perdito), who would do 
nothing, as the effect proved (his name is not given as he is still 
alive) that they would not deliver the money. For this the pair 
obtained for them a scolding, as has been said. 

[In the margin opposite to the words ' young cavallero ' are written 
the initials ' J. G./ which correspond with Jorge Gifford, the form one 
would expect in a Spanish paper.] 

In this version Father Persons may be frankly telling all that he 
knew, but he omits all the original story, and dwells solely on what will 
redound to the blame of Morgan. It is therefore a partisan story, and 
must not be accepted without due caution. 


ABINGTON, EDWARD, cxvi, cxxi, 
clxxiii, clxxx, 68, 72, 76, 84 n, 96 ; 
proposes to seize Queen Eliza- 
beth, 57 and n, 58 ; suggests a 
successor in the event of Mary's 
death, 62. 

Act of Association, xlix, cxciii. 

Ady, Patrick, a secular priest, 153 
n, 154, 163. 

Aldred, Solomon, one of Walsing- 
ham's spies, Ixxxviii, Ixxxix ; 
attempts to gain over Dr. Gifford 
and Edward Grately, xc-xcii. 

Alfield, Thomas, priest and martyr, 
xiv n, Ixxiii n. 

Allen, William, cardinal, xxxiii, 
xliii - xlv, Ixxiii, Ixxiv, Ixxvi, 
Ixxix and n, xcii, cxi, cc, 8 n ) 85 
and' n, 96, 128 ; his Defence of 
Stanley, 125. 

Aquaviva, Claudio, general of the 
Society of Jesus, Ixxvi, 152, 162. 

Aray, Martin, priest, cli. 

Arundel or Arundell, Sir Charles,i25. 

Sir John, of Lanherne, 58, 81, 

93> 97 an( i n ' 

Philip Howard, Earl of, xl, 
Ixxiii and , 43, 64, 80, 87, 91, 
133 n ; in the Tower, 109 and n. 

Thomas, 154, 164. 
Assassination, proposed, of Queen 

Elizabeth finds favour in high 
places, xx and n. 
Aston, Sir Walter, 6 n. 

parentage, civ and n ; his mis- 
taken belief that the Catholic 
princes were ready to invade 
England, xvii-xviii, cviii-cix ; the 
conditions which made the Bab- 
ington plot a possibility, xix-xxx, 
xxxix ; Gilbert Gifford the real 
originator of the plot, xli ; a 
double conspiracy, Ixxxvii ; Bab- 
ington plot, May-June, 1586, civ; 
interview with Ballard, cvii, 19, 
52 ; hesitates to involve himself 


in the conspiracy, cix ; the 
counts in the indictment against 
Ballard and Gifford, cxii ; list of 
the conspirators, cxvi ; Babing- 
ton's activities, cxx ; interviews 
with Walsingham, cxxiv, cxxvi, 
cxxvii and n, cxxix, clxiv, 56 n, 
134 ; consults with Poley, cxxv, 
58 ; Mary writes to Babington, 
cxxix, clxvi, 15, and receives in 
return the plan of the conspiracy, 
cxxxvi, 18, 63 ; Mary's letter 
of acceptance of the proposals, 
cxlii-cl, clxxxiv ; the history of 
the letter, 26-37 ; the textus ve- 
ceptus, 38-45 ; the conspirators to 
be apprehended, 1 32-1 35; Babing- 
ton's last interview with Walsing- 
ham, clxi ; offers of service, clxii ; 
shadowed by Poley, clx-clxiv, 
clxvii-clxviii ; alarmed by the 
arrest of Ballard and Poley, clxix ; 
resolves on the murder of Eliza- 
beth, clxx ; a prisoner in the 
Tower, clxxiii ; confessions and 
examinations of Babington, 

First examination, 49. 

Second examination, 67. 

Third examination, 76. 

Fourth examination, 77. 

Fifth examination, 79. 

Sixth examination, 88. 

Seventh examination, 89. 

Eighth examination, 90. 

Ninth examination, 96. 
Babington, Anthony, letter to, from 
Nau, as to Poley, 24 ; execution of 
the conspirators, clxxxii ; confisca- 
tion of their property, ccv and n. 
Richard, 62. 
Bacon, Francis, 137. 
Bagot, Richard, 6 n, 102. 
Bagshaw, Christopher, xlviii, Ixxvii. 
Ballard, John, priest and conspira- 
tor, xxxi, xxxii, xxxix, xlvii, xlix, 
Ixxii, Ixxvi, Ixxvii, Ixxx, Ixxxvi, 
Ixxxvii, cii, cxvi, cxxi, cxxxvi, 



ccvi n, ccxii, 19, 21 n, 46, 59, 63, 
6 7> 75, 94, 95, 106 and n, 109, 
no, 114 and n ; sketch of his 
career prior to the conspiracy, Ixvi ; 
Ballard as described by Tyrrell and 
Babington, Ixxviii ; accused by 
Tyrrell of plotting against Eliza- 
beth, Ixxiv, 94 ; interview with 
Morgan and Paget in Paris, Ixxvii, 
Ixxx ; his character under the 
influence of Morgan, Ixxix ; first 
steps in politics, Ixxxi ; en- 
deavours to discover the plans of 
the Scottish Catholics, Ixxxii 
involved in the conspiracy of 
Savage and George Gifford ; on the 
certainty of an invasion, Ixxxiii, 
xcvii, cvii, cxxxv, 52-54, 56 ; 
accompanied by Mawde he travels 
north in search of information as 
to the strength of the rising, cxvii, 
clii ; contradictory accounts of 
the expedition, cliii ; insists on 
having Mary's authority for the 
rising, cliii-clv ; offers to turn 
Queen's evidence, clxv ; warrant 
issued for his arrest, clxviii, 131- 
135 and n ; a prisoner in the 
Tower, clxix, clxxii, 160, 167 ; 
his examination, 137 ; put to the 
torture, Ixxx, clxxx ; executed, 
161,167; letters to, from Morgan, 

Ban against William the Silent, xix, 
xx, xxiii. 

Band of Association for the Safety of 
Queen Elizabeth, xxiv-xxv, xlix. 

Barker, Edward, notary, 36 ; his 
record of the evidence at the trial 
of Queen Mary, 136, 137. 

Barlow, William, priest, ixix. 

Barnes, alias Barnaby Thomas, 
agent in carrying correspondence 
to and from the French ambassa- 
dor, ci, cxxx-cxxxiii, cxxxviii, 
cciv, i, 99 n, 103 ^-105, 120, 
123; note on, 2; letter to Queen 
Mary with offer of service and 
enclosing a packet of letters, 8 ; 
the queen's reply, 13 ; his con- 
fession, 3-5; letters to Gilbert 

. Curll, 5 and n, 10, 17 ; letters 
to, from Curll, 8, n, 14, 16, 23, 

25, 47- 

Barnewell, Robert, conspirator, 
Ixxxiv, cix, cxvi, cxx, clxxii, 
clxxix, clxxx, 54, 57, 58, 62, 63, 
68, 71, 72, 76, 80, 87, 95. 

Beale, Robert, clerk of the Privy 
Council, 49. 

Beaton, James, archbishop of Glas- 
gow, liii, cxlvii, cxlviii, 8 n, 49, 
I 4 I > *53, 156 , 163, 175 ; letter 
to, from Queen Mary, cxcvi. 

Bellamy, Bartholomew, conspirator, 
clxxii and n. 

Elizabeth, conspirator, cxvii. 

Jeremy, conspirator, cxvii. 
Berden, Nicholas, alias of Thomas 

Rogers, q.v. 

Birkhead, George, D.D., ccii. 

Blount, Sir Christopher, xxxvii. 

Bold, Richard, 96 and n. 

Boste, John, priest and martyr, 
Ixxxi, Ixxxii. 

Bray, Mrs., in Sheffield, 50. 

Brewer, the, at Burton-on-Trent, 
' the honest man,' carries corres- 
pondence, cii and n, ciii, cxxxii, 
cxxxix, 3, 4 and n y 6 n, 99 n, 103 
and n, 104. 

Bromley, Thomas, chancellor, 66, 

Bruce, Robert, one of Walsingham's 
spies, xxxv. 

Buckhurst, Lord, 109. 

Bull, executioner of Queen Mary, cc. 

Burghley, William, Lord, xiv n, 
xxiv, xxxviii, clxxxii, clxxxiii, 
clxxxvi, 28, 66, 94 n, 130, 144, 
151 ; letter to Walsingham on 
the trial of Queen Mary, 150 ; 
letter of instructions from Eliza- 
beth regarding the trial of Mary, 
149 ; the reply, 150. 

Butler, Sir Thomas, 88. 

CAESAR, HENRY, Catholic priest in 

exile, 125. 

Campion, Edmund, S.J., accom- 
panies Persons to England, xv. 
Carter, William, xxiv. 
Casey, a servant of Phelippes, 129. 
Castelli, papal nuncio, writes to the 
Cardinal of Como on the plot to 
murder Queen Elizabeth, 169-170. 
atesby, Sir W., 58. 
atholic League, xv, 52 and n, 77. 

priests liable to torture and 

death, xxv and n. 

revival of 1581, xxix, 52 and n. 

Catholics, severe laws against, in 
1584, xx vi ; familiarised with the 
defence of regicide, xxix. 

Cecil, William. See Burghley, Lord. 


Charnock, John, conspirator, cxvii, 
xliv, clxv, clxxi, clxxii, 4, 58, 63, 

7*> 74- 

Chateauneuf de 1'Aubespine, M., 
French ambassador to England, 
lii, liii, lix, Ixiii, Ixiv, cl, clix, clx, 
6, 8, 17 and n, 44, 129, 158, 166. 

Clenog, Maurice, rector of the Eng- 
lish college at Rome, xlii. 

Colderin, Mr., an alias of Gilbert 
Gifford, q.v. 

Como, cardinal of, xxiii, xxix, 169- 

Cordaillot, M., secretary to the 
French ambassador, liii, Ivi, 120, 

Cornellis, Nicholas, an alias of 
Gilbert Gifford, q.v. 

Courcelles, secretary, 50. 

Courtenay (Curteney), Sir William, 
high sheriff of Devon, 81, 93, 97 
and n. 

Creagh, Richard, archbishop of 
Armagh, ccv. 

Crichton, William, S.J., xv, xxii ; 
his mission to Scotland to help 
the old religion, xv, 151-153, 
162-163; a prisoner in Ostend 
and narrowly escapes a hanging, 
I 53> z ^3 ; tried before the Privy 
Council, 154, 164 ; opposed to the 
murder of Elizabeth, xxviii and 
n, 157, 165 ; a prisoner in the 
Tower, clxxx, 155, 159-160, 164- 
167 ; efforts for his liberation, 
161, 168. 

Curll, Gilbert, secretary to Queen 
Mary, cxxxi, cxxxii, cxxxix, cxl, 
cxlvi, cxlvii and n, cxlviii and n, 
ccx, i, 28, 77 n, 127, 139, 142 ; his 
examination, clxxxvi and n, 
clxxx viii, cxc and n, cxci, cxcvi, 
143, 146 ; his dissuasions, 148 ; 
letters from, to Barnaby, n, 14, 
16, 23, 25, 47; letter'from, to 
Barnes, 8 ; letter to, from Barnes, 
5 and n ; letter to, from Barnaby 
[Phelippes], 17 ; letter to, from 
Gilbert Gifford, 99. 

DANIEL, RICHARD, li and n. 

Darbishire, D., S.J., 129. 

Defence of the . . . sentence and 

execution of the Queen of Scots, 30, 

De missione Scotica puncta quaedam 

Notanda historiae Societatis servi- 

enda, 151 ; translation, 162 

Des Trappes, M. de, messenger of 
the French ambassador, arrested, 
and imprisoned in the Tower, 159 
and n, 166. 

Dethick, or Dethwick, 15 n. 

Dolman, Alban, xlviii. 

Dolman's Conference on the next 
Succession, 85 n. 

Donne. See Dunne. 

Donnington, Mr., 95. 

Douglas, (?) a Scottish Jesuit, clxiii. 
Archibald, 100. 

Draycote, John, of Draycote, 92 and 


Philip, 88 and n. 
Driland, Christopher, priest, xxviii. 
Dunne or Donne, Henry, cxvi, cxxi, 

clxxii, 58, 59, 66, 67, 77, 94 , 95, 

133 ; his examination, clxvi. 
Du Preau (Pio), Camille, chaplain of 

Queen Mary, 108 and n. 
Du Ruisseau, M., 8 n. 

EGERTON, SIR THOMAS, solicitor- 
general, clxxxi, 91, 96, 137. 

Elizabeth, Queen, her excommuni- 
cation, xviii-xix and n, clxxvi n, 
53 and n, 67-68 ; causes Thomas 
Morgan to be thrown into the 
Bastille, xxx - xxxi ; furnishes 
French Huguenot rebels with 
money, liv ; informs the French 
ambassador that she is aware of 
the secret correspondence with 
Mary, Ixiv ; proposal for her 
seizure, 57 and n ; plots for 
her assassination, xx-xxi and n, 
xxxviii, xlv-xlvii, Ixxiv-lxxvi, 
cviii, cix, cxxi, cxxxiv, cxxxvi, 
cxliii, clvi, clxii, clxx, ccxii, 66, 
68, 72-73, 80, 84, 156-158, 165- 
166, 169, 175 ; measures taken for 
her safety, xxiv-xxv, 88 ; Mary 
refuses to consent to her murder, 
33-34 ; Babington's letter to 
Mary on the proposed assassina- 
tion, 21-22 ; orders the arrest of 
the conspirators, cl ; the indict- 
ment of Ballard, Babington, and 
Gilbert Gifford, cxii and n ; her 
wrath against Mary, clxxx, cxciii ; 
insists that extra torture be in- 
flicted on the prisoners, clxxxii ; 
instructions to Burghley as to 
Mary's trial, 149 ; Burghley 's 
reply, 150 ; Mary denies com- 
plicity in the murder plot, cxcv- 



Ely, Humphrey, D.C.L., xxi. 
Englefield, Sir Francis, cxlviii, cxlix, 

cxc, 8 11, 130, 147, 155 n. 
Erdswick, Sampson, of Sandon, 

Staffordshire, 92 n. 
Evidence against the Queen of Scots, 

cxlviii n. 
Exorcisms and witch-hunting, Ixviii 

and n. 

FAUNT, LAWRENCE, S.J., rector in 
Poland, 155 n. 

Nicholas, 155 and n, 164. 
Fitton, Sir Edward, cxxii, 51 and n. 
Fitzherbert (Fytcherbert), Sir 

Thomas, li n, 92, 127, 128. 
Fletcher, Richard, dean of Peter- 
borough, cxcviii, cxcix, cc. 
Foljambe, Godfrey, 7, 8 n. 
Fontenay, M. de, advises Mary to 

get into touch with Babington, 

cxxx and n. 
Foscue, captain, alias of John 

Ballard, q.v. 
Fowler, Bryan, of St. Thomas, 92 

and n. 
Francisci, Jacomo, soldier of fortune, 

Ixxxvi and n, 95 and n. 

GAGE, ROBERT, involved in Babing- 
ton's plot, cxvii, clxxi, 73, 76 ; 
a prisoner in the Tower, clxxii ; 
executed, 113 and n. 

Garnet, a Jesuit, clxiii, 112 and n. 

Gerard, Sir Thomas, of Bryn, cxvii, 
63, 71, 92 and n ; a prisoner in 
the Tower, 132 and n. 

Germin, Thomas, an alias of Morgan, 

Gifford, Sir George, of Itchell, con- 
spirator, Ixxxiii, c, cxi, clxxx, 4, 
54 n ; his disreputable career, 
xxxvii ; his plot to assassinate 
Queen Elizabeth, xxi, xxxviii, 
169-175 ; gentleman pensioner at 
the English Court, xxxix. 

Gerard, 130. 

Gilbert, spy of Walsingham, 
xxxix-xli ; his family connections, 
xli ; expelled from the English 
College at Rome, xlii ; plotting 
against Queen Elizabeth, xliii- 
xlvii ; recommended to Queen 
Mary by Morgan, xlix, Ivii ; 
arrives in London with letters 
from Beaton, Morgan, and Paget, 
liii ; in Walsingham's secret ser- 
vice as provocateur, 1, 128-129 ; 

with Phelippes at Chartley, Ivi 
and n ; offers his services to con- 
vey letters to and from Mary, 
Ivii ; on trial, Iviii-lx ; his offer 
accepted, Ix ; the method adopted 
for the conveyance of the corre- 
spondence, Ixi and w-lxiv, cxxxi ; 
the beginnings of the conspiracy, 
Ixvi ; assures Walsingham of his 
hostility towards the Jesuits, 
Ixxxviii ; desirous of gaining over 
Dr. William Gifford, Ixxxviii, 
Ixxxix, xc, cxxviii ; 85 n, 108 and 
n- plotting in Paris, c; returns 
to Chartley, cii-ciii ; sent to Paris 
to obtain an authoritative de- 
liverance as to the lawfulness of 
the conspiracy, cxviii-cxix, clviii, 
clxxiii ; writes a book against the 
Jesuits, cxix, cxx, cxxxiv, cciii 
and w-ccvii, 125, 128 ; confesses 
that the real purpose of his jour- 
ney from Paris was the plot for the 
assassination of Queen Elizabeth, 
cxx, cxxxiv ; returns to London, 
cxx, cxxix ; his interviews with 
Ballard, cliii-cliv and n> 106 and 
n ; prepares for flight, clix-clx, 
108, in, 114-118; his interview 
with Mendoza in Paris, clxxiii, 
114, 115 ; obtains his approval of 
the plot to murder Elizabeth, 
clxxiv ; surprised in a brothel 
and taken to the archbishop's 
prison where he dies, ccii, 118, 
125, 127, 130 ; note on his 
letters, 98 ; note on his confes- 
sion, 128 ; his correspondence 
after the plot, 1586-1590, 118-130; 
letter from, to Gilbert Curll, 99 
and n ; letters to Phelippes, 2, 103 
and n, 123, 174 ; letters to Wal- 
singham, 105 and n, 109-114 and 
n, 116-117 and n, 
- John, of Chillington, xlii, Ivi and 
n, 92 and n. 

Richard, 172. 

William, archbishop of Rheims, 
xxxvii, xlii, xlv and n, xlvi and n, 
xlviii, Ixxiv, Ixxxviii-xci, c, 1 08 
and n, in, 115-117 and n. 

Gordon, James, S. J., 153 and n, 163. 
Grately, Edward, a priest, xlviii, 

Ixxxix, xc, xcii, ci, cxix, clxxvi n, 

clxxvii, 1 08 and n, 120, 125 ; dies 

in prison, cciii. 
Gray, the Master of, his mission to 

England, 155 and n, 156 n, 165. 


Gregory xin., pope, xvi, 152, 163 ; 
his alleged approval of the plot 
for the assassination of Queen 
Elizabeth, Ixxv, 170. 

Gregory, Arthur, a writing expert, 
Iviii and n, clxvi. 

Grene, Christopher, S.J., i2'8. 

Guise, Francis, duke of, his assassi- 
nation, xxxviii. 

Henry, duke of, xv, xvi, 53, 

122, 153", 163, 169, 172-173. 175- 


Catholic, Ixxi. 

Lord Claude, Ixxxii. 

Hanmer, Meredith, xlviii. 

Hartlepool, 81 n. 

Hatton, Sir Christopher, xxvii, 

clvii and n, 66, 144-146, 161, 168. 
Henri in., King of France, at the 

instigation of Queen Elizabeth, 

throws Thomas Morgan into the 

Bastille, xxx-xxxi. 
Hervies' Rents, London, 52 and n. 
Hey wood, Jasper, S.J., letter to 

Aquaviva, on George Gifford's 

plot to kill Queen Elizabeth, 171. 
Hodgson, Christopher, a reader in 

philosophy at Rheims, xlv and n. 
Hurt or Hourt, Richard, mercer in 

Nottingham, cxxxi, 15 and n. 

INGLEBY, DAVID, Ixxxi, 94 and n, 95. 
Ive, Mark, 49. 

JACQUES, CAPTAIN. See Francisci, 

James vi., xv, xvi, ccx, ccxi, 56, 

80, 82, 96, 100 and n, 151-153, 

162-163 I deserts his mother and 

accepts a pension from her 

enemies, cxli. 
Jones, Edward, cxvi ; discusses 

plans for the Welsh rising, cxxi ; 

taken prisoner, clxxiii. 

KENILWORTH CASTLE, 62 and n, 70. 

Kent, Henry, Earl of, cxcviii-cc. 

Kyffin, Maurice, supposed author of 
A Defence . . . of the execution 
of the Queen of Scots, 30, 36. 


92 and n. 
Leicester, Earl of, 60, 69, 78, 87, 99, 

Lennox, Esme Stuart, Duke of, 

xv-xvii, 152 and , 153 n, 162-163. 

Lesley, John, bishop of Ross, xviii, 

8 n. 
Lewis, Owen, bishop of Cassano, 

xxii, xxiii, Ixxiv, ccvii, ccviii. 
Liggons or Lingens, (?) Ralph, 8 n. 
Lilly, alias Ambodester, 124-125, 


MAINE, Due DE, 53. 

Mary Queen of Scots, the Council 
of Elizabeth determined on her 
death, xiii - xiv and n ; the 
Catholic revival in England raises 
the hopes of her adherents, xvi ; 
the Band of Association and its 
threat to Mary, xxiv-xxv, xlix ; 
events leading up to Babington's 
plot, xxix ; unfortunate in her 
choice of agents, xxxiv, ccix ; 
Walsingham's intrigues against 
her, xli, Ixvi, Ixxxvii, xc ; the 
beginnings of the Babington plot 
for her liberation, xli, 62-63, 7 
at Chartley, lii ; Paget writes 
to Mary on Ballard's proposals for 
a' rising, xcv ; Morgan and de 
Fontenay suggest that she should 
get into touch with Babington, 
cxxx and n ; writes to Babington, 
cxxxi; receives Babington's letter 
on the plans of the conspirators, 
cxl ; accepts his offer of service, 
cxlii-cxlvi ; methods adopted for 
the conveyance of letters, li, Ivii- 
Ixiv ; requests Babington to 
forward letters, 15 ; letter from 
Babington on the proposed inva- 
sion of England and the assassina- 
tion of Elizabeth, 18, 23 ; her 
approval of Babington's plans 
refer to her liberation and not to 
the proposed murder, cxlii-cxliv, 
33 ; Babington informs her that 
her friends ' will performe or die,' 
46 ; the forged postscript asking 
the names of the six conspirators, 
clxvi, 45, 133 ; realises the neces- 
sity of foreign aid, cxlvii-cxlviii ; 
misled by the extravagant asser- 
tions of Ballard, and the false 
statements of Gilbert Gifford, 
cxlviii ; despatches the fatal 
letter to Babington, cxlix, cli ; 
the authentic text, 26-27 ; the 
textus receptus and its history, 
29-46 ; Ballard's examination on 
the correspondence between Mary 
and Babington, 137 ; Babington's 



confession as to the receipt of 
Mary's letter and hisreply,cxxxvi, 
63 ; the deception practised upon 
her secretaries, clxxxix - cxcii ; 
their evidence becomes her death 
warrant, cxcii ; the trial, cxciii- 
cxcv ; Barker and Wheeler's 
official record of the evidence at 
the trial, 136 ; her execution, 
cxcviii-cc ; her death a source of 
strength to the Church, cci ; notes 
on her friends and servants, ccvi. 
See also under Babington, Ballard, 
Gifford (Gilbert), etc. 

Matthieu, Claude, S.J., 171. 

Mauvissiere, Michel de Casrelnau de, 
French ambassador, 50. 

Mawde, Bernard, one of Walsing- 
ham's spies, Ixxxiv-lxxxvii and 
n, Ixxxviii, cii, cxvii, cxlvii ; clii 
and n, cliii, ccv, 46, 71, 78, 79, 95. 

Mendoza, Bernardino de, Spanish 
ambassador in France, xvi, xciii, 
xcvii-xcix, cviii, cxii, cxvii, cxliv, 
cxlviii, 8 n, 39, 112, 127, 135, 141 ; 
interview with Gilbert Gifford, 
li, clxxiii ; interview with Ballard, 
xciv, xcviii, cviii ; deceived by 
Gifford he writes to England 
approving of Elizabeth's murder, 
clxxiv ; letter to, from Queen 
Mary, after her death sentence, 
cxcvi ; pays a tribute to Queen 
Mary's courage, cci ; his char- 
acter outlined, ccxi ; letter from, 
to Idiaquez, 170. 

Montalto, alias of Mawde, q.v. 

Moresino, Mgr., bishop of Brescia, 
-Nuncio in Paris, 127. 

Morgan, Thomas, xxvii, xl-xli, li, 
cliv, civ, 4, 49, 50 and n, 51, 99, 
100 and n, 106-112 and n, 120, 
121,127,128; plots the assassina- 
tion of Queen Elizabeth, xxii ; 
thrown into the Bastille, xxx ; 
his activities on behalf of Queen 
Mary, xxxiii-xxxiv, xxxvii, xlviii ; 
recommends Gilbert Gifford to 
Queen Mary, xlix ; her ' anxiety 
for his welfare, Ivii ; feud with 
Allen and Persons, Ixxix and n ; 
deceived by Gifford, Ixxxviii ; 
writes to Queen Mary on the 
fidelity of Dr. Gifford and Grately, 
xcii and n ; requests Savage to 
support the plot, ci ; warns 
Gilbert Gifford as to Ballard, 
cxix ; advises Mary to get into 

touch with Babington, cxxx and 
n ; veiled warnings to Mary on the 
proposed assassination of Eliza- 
beth, clvi ; his indiscretions part- 
ly responsible for Mary's death, 
ccvi ; his after career, ccviii- 
ccix and n ; letter to, from Gil- 
bert Gifford, 1 01. 

Morley, Lord, 109. 

Morton, James Douglas, Earl of, xv. 

Mylls, Francis, clxix, 131, 133, 136. 


(? CLAUDE), secretary to Queen 
Mary, cxxxix, cxl, cxlii, cxlvi and 
w-cxlviii and n, clxxxiii, ccx, 77 n, 
89, 108, 127, 139-140 ; his ex- 
amination, clxxxv-clxxxvi and n, 
clxxxix, cxci, cxcvi, 27-28, 141, 
144 ; his regrets, 148 ; letter to 
Babington, on Poley, 24. 

Neville, Edmund, lodges an infor- 
mation against Dr. Parry, xxvii. 

Newport, Mr., steward to the Earl 
of Essex, ciii, 103 n. 

Nix, a highwayman, xxxviii. 

Norreys of Speke Hall, 88 and n. 

Northumberland, Earl of, 65. 

OATLANDS, 89 and n. 

Offley, Hugh, in Rouen, 115-117 

and n. 

Old and new style in dates, Ixiv. 
Oulswick, Samson, 92 and n, 


Paget, Charles, conspirator, xxxiv, 
xxxvii, xli, xlv %, xlviii, xc, xciii, 
cxii, cxvii, cxxxv and n, cxlviii, 
cxlix, cliv, cxc, cciv, ccvii, ccix, 
ccx, 5, 8 n, 43, 84, 85 , 96, 106, 

107, IIO-II2, 120-122, 127, 128, 

135, 139, 141, M?, !56, 165 ; 
letter to Mary on Ballard's pro- 
posals for a Catholic rising, xcv ; 
mistaken in by Ballard, xcix. 
Thomas, lord, cxc, 43, 65, 74, 

92 and n, 127, 147. 

Papal league rumours, xvii-xviii and 

Parma, Prince of, xvii, xix, xcviii, 
cviii, 53. 

Parry, William, his bogus plot for the 
assassination of Queen Eliza- 
beth, xxii and n, xxiii, xxxiv, 
ccvi ; receives from Pope Gregory 
an indulgence for an enterprise 
for the liberation of Queen Mary, 


xxiii ; his accusations cause 
Morgan to be thrown into the 
Bastille, xxx ; arrested and exe- 
cuted, xxvii and n, xxviii, 156 and 
n, 158, 165-166. 
Parsons. See Persons. 
Pauncefote, John, Catholic exile, 


Peckham, Edmund, exorcist, Ixviii 
n, Ixix n. 

Sir George, of Denham, 132 
and n. 

Persons or Parsons, Robert, S.J., 
xv, xxxiii, xxxiv, xlviii, Ixxvi, 
xciii, cxi, cciiiandw, 128, 170-172; 
letter to Don John de Idiaquez, 
on the proposed murder of Queen 
Elizabeth, 175. 

Phelippes, Thomas, one of Walsing- 
ham's spies, 1, liii, Ivi and n, Ixiii, 
Ixxxiii, cxxxii, cxxxiii, cxxxviii, 
cxxxix and n, cxli, cxlix, cl, 
clx, clxv, clxvii-clxviii, clxxxiii, 
i, 2, 5, 7 n, 26-27, 47 n, 101, 105 n, 
109-111, 114, 116; explains to 
Elizabeth the significance of the 
intercepted letters, clxxix ; in 
possession of Mary's correspond- 
ence, clxxxiv ; determined on 
the death of the conspirators, 
clxxxix ; his copy of Mary's letter 
to Babington untrustworthy, 29- 
32 ; defends the indictment of Gil- 
bert Gifford, 119-120; Gifford de- 
fends himself against Phelippes's 
suspicions, 120; his loyalty to 
Walsingham his chief virtue, cciii- 
cciv and n ; a repulsive char- 
acter, 129 ; Queen Mary's de- 
scription of his personal appear- 
ance, liv ; letters to Curll, 10, 17 ; 
letter to, from Gilbert Gifford, 
103 and n ; extract of letter from 
Gilbert Gifford, concerning George 
Gifford, 174 ; letters to Phelippes 
from Walsingham, 131-135. 
Philip n. of Spain, xvi, xvii, 153, 
163 ; sets a price on the head of 
William, Prince of Orange, xx ; 
appoints Mendoza ambassador 
to Paris, xciii ; letter from Men- 
doza giving an account of his 
interview with Ballard, xciv ; 
approves of the proposal to 
assassinate Queen Elizabeth, 
clxxv and n, 170 ; resolved on 
the conversion of England, 83. 
Pierce, William, D.D., ccii. 

Pius v., 21 n. 

Plymouth, selected as one of the 
landing-places for the invading 
troops, 81 n, 93, 97. 

Poley or Pooley,' Robert, a spy in 
the service of Walsingham, xxxvi, 
cxxii-cxxiv, cxxxix, clii, cliii, 
clx-clxii, cxc, 22, 24, 27, 56 and 

, 75, 77 . 8 9> 97, I0 4 n > II2 w > 
133-135, 160, 167, 173 ; informs 
Walsingham of the plot against 
Elizabeth, clxii ; confidential 
talks with Babington, clxiv, 58, 
69 ; on guard over Babington, 
clxvii-clxviii ; letter to, from 
Babington, clxx ; his later years, 

Poulet or Paulet, Sir Amias, cus- 
todian of Mary Queen of Scots, 
liv, Ivi-lxiii, ciii, cxxxii, cxxxix, 
cxli-cxlii, ccvii, 7, 37, 104, 131, 

Priests held to be synonymous with 

traitors, xxv n ; opposed to 

regicide, xxviii and n. 
Puckering, John, law officer of the 

Crown, 91, 96, 137. 

RAGAZZONI, papal nuncio, letter 
from, to the cardinal of Como, 171. 

Raid of Ruthven, xvi, 153 and n. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, ccv, 54 and n, 

Rheims College, xliii-xlv. 

Rogers, Thomas, alias Nicholas 
Berden, one of Walsingham 's 
spies, xl and n, xli, li, lii, cl, clxvii, 
132 and n, 156 n. 

Rolston, Anthony, cxxx, 50. 

Rowsham, Stephen, martyr-priest, 

2, 4 and n. 


Salisbury, Thomas, conspirator, c, 
cix, cxvi, 57, 68, 76, 80, 87, 92, 
94 ; consultation with Babington, 
54 ; to effect a rising in Denbigh, 
cxx ; discusses plans for the 
Welsh rising, cxxi ; a prisoner, 

Sandes, Miles, 96. 

Sandys, Edwin, protestant arch- 
bishop of York, Ixxxiv. 

Savage, John, conspirator, xxxiv, 
xxxix, Ixvi, Ixvii, c, ci, cxv-cxvi, 
cxxxiv, cxxxv and n, clxxix, 

3, 4, 97, 128; his antecedents 
prior to the murder plot, xliii ; 



undertakes to assassinate Queen 
Elizabeth, xlv and w-xlvii, cviii- 
cix, clxxi, 54 and n; joins Bab- 
ington's conspiracy, ex ; ready 
for any dangerous work, 69, 73 ; 
holds it to be lawful to murder 
Elizabeth, 68, 76 ; discusses de- 
tails of her assassination, cxx- 
cxxi ; his delay in the accom- 
plishment of his vow, clxxi, 57, 
58, 60 ; a prisoner in the Tower, 
clxxii ; extract from his confes- 
sion, 172. 

Scarborough selected as a landing- 
place for the invaders, 81 n. 

Schismatics, 109 and n. 

Scudamore, one of Walsingham's 
spies, clxxi. 

Sega, Mgr., papal nuncio, xxi and 

Sergeant, Richard, priest, executed 
at Tyburn, 100 and n. 

Seton, George, Lord, 152 and n, 162. 

Shrewsbury, George Talbot, Earl of, 
cxcix, cc, 15 and , 18, 50 and n, 
88 and n, 89. 

Sixtus v., pope, xx, 83-84 and n, 
85 n, 96. 

Soigne, Pierre, alias of Thomas 
Barnes, q.v. 

Somerset, Thomas, 100 and n. 

Somerville, John, threatens Queen 
Elizabeth, xxiii. 

Southwell, Robert, 112 and n ; his 
Humble Supplication to Her 
Majesty, cli and n, clxiii and n. 

Spanish claim to the throne of 
England, 85 and n, 96. 

Speke Hall, Lancashire, 88 and n. 

Spies and dupes, 1584-1585, xxx. 

Stafford, Sir Edward, English am- 
bassador in Paris, xxxv, xc, xci, 
92 and n, 120, 125-126, 129 ; 
letter on the employment of 
Robert Bruce as a spy, xxxv- 
xxx vi. 

' Star-Chamber practice/ 94 and n. 

Statute of Silence, xiii and n, xiv. 

Strancham, Edward, a priest and 
martyr, xli. 

Strange, Lord, 62. 

Stuart, Esme, Sieur d'Aubigny. See 
Lennox, Duke of. 

Sturton, Lord, 109. 

TALBOT, JOHN, of Grafton, cliv, 58, 

92, 108 and n. 
Taxis, Don Juan Bautista de, 

Spanish ambassador in Paris, xvi, 
xciii ; writes to Philip n. on a 
plot against the life of Elizabeth, 

Thomson, William, priest, executed 
at Tyburn, 100 and n. 

Thoroughgood, an alias of John 
Ballard, q.v. 

Throckmorton, Francis, 7, 101 n, 
127, 128, 146 ; his execution, 

Tichborne, Clu'diock, conspirator, 
Ixxxiv, c, cix, cxvi, cxxi, clxvii, 
27, 49, 62, 68, 70, 73-76, 93-97 I 
consultation with Babington, 54, 
58 ; offer of service, 72 ; a 
prisoner in the Tower, clxxii ; his 
confession, clxxx, 34 and n. 

Tilney or Tylney, Charles, conspira- 
tor, Ixxvii, Ixxxiii and , cxvi, 
cxxi, clxxx, 57-58. 68-69, 72 ; a 
prisoner in the Tower, clxxii. 

Topcliffe, Richard, a persecutor of 
Catholics, clxxii n. 

Transome, 95. 

Transportation oi priests, 100 and n. 

Traves, John, cxvi. 

Tresham, Sir Thomas, of Rushton, 
cliv, 58, 108 and n. 

Tunstall, Anthony, Ixxxiv, 95. 

Tylney. See Tilney. 

Tymperley, Nicholas, Ixxvii. 

Typping, John, cliii. 

Tyrannicide, theories of. Always 
illicit if on private authority only, 
35, 61, 72, 157, 165 ; no authority 
for, given by the bull of excom- 
munication, xix, xxi n, 21 n; 
erroneous views on this, xxi, 21, 
61, 67, 68; authority for, to be 
solicited by Gilbert Gifford, clviii, 
61 n. Mary will not encourage 
explicitly, cxliii, 33 ; but does so 
implicitly, cxliv, 34, 35 ; her 
authority asked for appointments 
to offices, 67, 70. Lax views on, 
result from the Ban, from the 
wars of religion, and do much 
harm, xix, xx, xxi, xxviii, xxix. 
Comparisons, with English inten- 
tions against Mary, xiv ; with 
murder by state trial, xxxix ; with 
the Band of Association, xxv. 
Bogus plots of, and bogus charges 
of, see Carter, George Gifford, 
Parry, Somerville, Tyrrell ; pro- 
vocateurs to, see Gilbert Gifford ; 
see also Babington, Ballard, Como, 


Crichton, and Mendoza, xciv, 
clxxiv, clxxvi. 

Tyrrell, Anthony, subject to hysteria, 
Ixxvii, 90, 94 n, 95 and , 153, 
163 ; sketch of his career, Ixvii- 
Ixxi ; the value of his evidence, 
Ixxii ; the pilgrimage to Rome, 
Ixxiii ; his unreliability, Ixxvi ; 
on Ballard's character, Ixxviii. 
Gertrude, a Bridgettine nun, 
Ixxi, Ixxiii. 

VERSTEGAN, RICHARD, ccii, ccx n. 

WAADE, SIR WILLIAM, 159 and n, 

Walpole, Henry, S.J., 130. 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, xiv, xxiv, 
85 ; his hatred of Queen Mary, 
xxx ; his political morality, xxx ; 
his spies, xxxv ; endeavours to 
enlist agents for his conspiracy 
against Mary, xc-xci ; actively 
assists in furthering the Babing- 
ton plot, cxxxiv-cxxxv, clxxii n, 
clxxviii, ccv, ccxii, 87 n ; inter- 
views with Babington, cxxiv- 
cxxviii and n, cxxix, clxi, clxiv, 56 
n, 134 ; receives Poley's report on 
interviews with Babington, clxiv, 
134 ; disturbed by the flight of Gil- 
bert Gifford, 116-119, I 3 2 - I 33> 
*35 ', gives instructions for the 
arrest of the conspirators, cl, 
clxviii, 131-135 ; letter to Queen 
Elizabeth, Ixxxvi ; letters to 
Walsingham from Gilbert Gifford, 
105 and n, log-n^smdn, 116-117; 
letter from Burghley on Queen 
Mary's trial, 150. 

Walton, Roger, commended by Sir 

Edward Stafford, but imprisoned 
by Walsingham, 124. 

Watts, or Waytes, William, a secu- 
lar priest, xxviii. 

Westmorland, Earl of, 65, 74, 80. 

Weston, William, S.J., Ixviii n, 
Ixix n, 86 n; his description of 
Babington, cv and n, cvi, and 
of Poley, cxxii ; his account of 
Babington's interviews with Wal- 
singham, cxxvi and w-cxxviii. 

Wheeler, Thomas, notary, 36 ; his 
record of the evidence at the trial 
of Queen Mary, 136. 

White, Richard, a Catholic martyr, 
xxiv and n. 

William the Silent, Prince of Orange, 
his assassination, xix, xxiv and n. 

Williamson, a spy, Ixxxvii n. 

Windsor, the L., 92. 

Dorothy, Ixxxvii. 

Edward, conspirator, Ixxxi, 

Ixxxii, Ixxxiii n, Ixxxvi, Ixxxvii, 
c, cxvi, cxviii, cxxi, cliii, clxxx, 
62, 70, 94, 139. 

Witch-hunting and exorcisms, Ixviii 

Wolsley, Erasmus, of Wolsley, 92 
and n. 

Worseley, Thomas, 49. 

Wotton, Sir Edward, 30. 

YARDLEY, ROGER, a suspect, xl n, 
clxiii, 97 ; a ' prisoner in the 
Clynke,' 5 and n. 

Young, Richard, magistrate, clxxi, 

Younger, James, priest, Ixxix n. 

ZOUCHE, LORD, qualified verdict on 
Queen Mary, cxciv and n. 

Edinburgh : Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE Lrp. 



on Saturday, 12th December 1921, in Dowell's Rooms, George 
Street, Edinburgh, Sir James Balfour Paul, C.V.O., LL.D., 
in the Chair. 

The Report of the Council was as follows : 

During the past year forty-six members have died or resigned. 
Thirty-five new members have joined the Society, and the 
number now on the roll, exclusive of libraries, is 370. 

Since the last General Meeting the first volume of the Third 
Series, viz. Consultations of the Ministers of Edinburgh, 1652- 
1657, has been issued, and owing to the expense of printing 
is the sole volume for 1919-20. This book took precedence 
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DA Pollen, John Hungerford (ed.) 
787 Mary Queen of Scots and the 
A1P6 Babington plot 







1 iiJS P;j